Just how good is Zarkava after her momentous victory in Sunday’s Arc de Triomphe at Longchamps?
And will we get the chance to find out now that the Aga Khan is contemplating putting her away for breeding?
Of course, top race fillies do not always make the best brood mares but the Aga Khan clearly has his eye on a mating with his 2002 Arc winner Dalakhani.
It has been said this week that Zarkava has nothing more to prove. Really?
She has only had seven races and there is the prospect of another Arc, a King George and a Breeders’ Cup to win next season .
Now, if she achieved those - and there is no reason why she can’t as a four-year-old, then she would enter racing’s pantheon of greatest as the best of them all.
The filly is 3-1 to repeat her Arc success next year, but punters must hold fire on that until her future is determined.
Zarkava is currently right up there with the very best such as Allez France, Miesque, Dahlia and Pebbles.
Unbeaten winners of the Arc are rare as are three-year-old fillies landing Europe’s richest race, - the last in the latter category being Akiyda back in 1982.
Let’s not forget that Allez France failed to win the Arc as a three-year-old, running second to Rheingold in 1973 before winning the following year.
Timeform, that respected font of knowledge when it comes to ratings, have Zarkava, the first filly to win the Arc since Urban Sea in 1993, on 133 after her two-length victory over Youmzain.
That is the best rating in 20 years, putting on the same mark as Miesque and Indian Skimmer who achieved their ratings in the same year (1988).
Timeform’s Simon Walker said: "Provisionally, we have her on
133. Zarkava's basic rating for winning the Arc was 131 but she has been credited with an extra 2lb for the style of her success and the fact that she didn't have an entirely trouble-free passage..”
Allez France (1974) and sprinter Habibti (1983) recorded the highest female ratings of 136 while Dahlia, twice winner of the King George (1973 & ‘74) and Pebbles (first female winner of the Eclipse and first British winner of a Breeders’ Cup), were given 135.
Petite Etoile (1959 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner) and the 1983 Arc winner and third in ‘84, All Along were awarded 134.
Miesque reigned supreme as a miler and won back-to-back Breeders’ Cups while Indian Skimmer trained by Henry Cecil, beat Miesque in the 1987 French Oaks and went on to defeat the colts in the Champion and Irish Champion Stakes the following year, ending her career with 10 wins out of 16.
Miesque who like Zarkava won the French fillies’ Triple Crown - 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Prix Vermeille finished up with 13 victories from 21 races.
So let’s hope there is more racing to come from Zarkava who can become the brightest star in racing’s female firmament.
It could be adios to Ramos if Spurs keep up slump
Under-fire Spurs manager Juande Ramos has been given the ‘kiss of death’ following the backing of chairman Daniel Levy.
Levy has said that Ramos’s job is is not under threat which ofcourse means it is.
The stats prove that, namely Spurs have won three games in 19 matches, taking 16 points from 57, since lifting the Carling Cup in February.
Spurs have picked up only two points in their opening seven Premiership matches this season and managed only four goals - their worst start in 96 years.
It is not only confidence in the financial markets that are crashing alarmingly.
Hence it’s not hard to see why the Spanish coach Ramos is a skinny 5-6 (Paddy Power) to be gone by the end of the year.
Another couple of defeats and it will be adios, Ramos.
He is also evens to be the next Premiership manager to leave his post with Gus Poyet 2-1 favourite as his replacement.
Spurs have spent £80m on new signings and while some of them are not bad players, they are lacking in cohesion and leadership.
Previously linked managers Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp are 7-1 and 12-1 respectively to be next in charge with former full-back Joe Kinnear an outsider at 50-1.
Former managers in the betting for a return include Terry Venables (18-1), Glenn Hoddle and Avram Grant (both 28-1) and Martin Jol (33-1) but why should the latter be interested when he is doing nicely at Hamburg at the top of Bundesliga?
Spurs have shrunk to 7-1 for relegation from 100-1 pre-season and are 9-2 to pass the ‘magic 40 point’ mark which is seen as the barrier to ensure survival.
Just how bad things are can be seen in that they have less points than Derby County at this time last season and Tottenham are 100-1 to finish below County’s all-time low of 11.
Paddy Power’s Spurs Specials: 7-1Spurs to be relegated; 100-1 to total less than Derby County.
Spurs total points: 10-1 61 or more; 7-1 56-60 incl; 7-2 51-55 incl; 5-2 46-50 incl; 3-1 41-45 incl; 9-2 40 or less.
Who will last longest in current position: 1-2 Ramos; 6-4 Joe Kinnear.
Forget about England’s UEFA Cup hopefuls
An English club to win the UEFA Cup gets a 4-1 shout from Totesport but it is best avoided as none of the top four Premiership teams in the Champions League are likely to drop down into the third phase to join the the three qualifiers from the eight second round groups.
Portsmouth are in with 2007 Champions League winners AC Milan but still should be able to deal with Portugal’s Braga, Dutch outfit Heerenveen and Wolfsburg in the tussle for the other two qualifying spots.
At the moment, no one in their right mind could fancy Spurs who have to tussle with Spartak Moscow, Udinese, Dinamo Zagreb and NEC Nijmegen and while Man City and Aston Villa should reach the next stage, it is hard to envisage one of them going all the way.
Villa are the shortest price at 12-1 with Spurs and Man City at 14s and Pompey at 28-1.
Any team eliminated from the Champions League is 3-1 but Spain’s Valencia at 10-1 look the best value bet.
As for the winning nation, Spain which also takes in Sevilla is solid at 11-2.
UEFA Cup – Outright: 3-1 Champions League Club 4-1 AC Milan, 10 Valencia 11 Sevilla, 12 A Villa, 14 Man City Spurs, 22 Schalke, 25 S Liege, 28 Ajax, Hamburg, Portsmouth, Stuttgart, 33 Sampdoria, Udinese, 40 Benfica, Deportivo, S Moscow, Wolfsburg, Galatasaray 50/1 Bar
Each-way ½ 1,2,
Winning nation: 7-4 Any Other, 3-1 Italy, 4-1 England, 11-2 Spain, 8-1 Germany, 18-1 Holland, 20-1 France