8 years ago
Hayley O'Connor of Ladbrokes is going bananas for Chicquita in the Arc
One of the biggest races on the sporting calendar gets underway at 3.30pm.
All morning I've had the theme tune to Space Odyssey in my head - Richard Stauss' Also sprach Zarathustra.
It's the perfect musical expression of how us racing fans are feeling ahead of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at 3.30.
Pinnacle is a word that's bandied around sports pages, but this is quite simply 'the ultimate' whether you're an owner, trainer, jockey or punter.
It's never easy to unravel the winner from the form.
They're all brilliant - Ectot, the market leader is unbeaten in six, his last two at the track. Challenging him for favouritism is the femme fatal Taghrooda who made a mockery of the boys in the King George, while winning the Race has become almost a national obsession for the Japanese and they have two very strong contenders in Harp Star and Just A Way.
My obsession, as most people will know, is Chicquita.
I'm not the only one who fell in love with her, as last year she was purchased for the tidy sum of six million euros, that's for a filly who literally threw herself in a hedge when within winning distance of the line of her second run.
Backing her in the Irish Oaks, my heart was in my mouth as she veered wildly across the track, but she's moved on and looked a little calmer the last time when second on her reappearance at the Curragh.
She'd need to though, this is one of the widest tracks in the world and she's got a terrible draw in stall 18, so if she decides to wander, off she'll go.
A big rival could come from the tiny Tapestry. Connections paid a tidy sum of 120k to supplement her for the race and although she looks a timid creature, she showed plenty of heart in the Yorkshire Oaks, and Ryan Moore is the best man in the saddle at the moment, already landing a blow today.
Frankie Dettori has a point to prove.
Having been jocked off the brilliant Treve, he has plenty of ammunition to exact revenge in the company of former Derby winner Ruler Of The World, who impressed in a trial for today.
The former hasn't sparkled this year but out of sentiment I'm backing Treve each way for small money.
But as the time is drawing nearer, I'm going to add to the sum I've had on my fair lady Chicquita and if she wins we'll all go bananas.