The 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly may be run in France but the betting market is headed by runners from the UK and Ireland with a German raider priced to finish ahead of the home team (3.05pm, Sunday live on ITV).
Enable is the hot favourite to give John Gosden his second Arc victory but 10/11 is not an alluring price for a filly who has had an outstanding but very long season and an each-way bet elsewhere may be a more interesting option for this Arc preview.
On the positive side, this talented three-year-old daughter of Nathaniel is unbeaten in her four Group 1 starts over a mile and a half. Fillies of her age cannot touch her and she served it up to the older colts in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, beating Ulysses by over four lengths. Enable is tactically versatile and will have to be. Being drawn from stall one is not as good as it sounds, last year the first three home were all drawn eleven or higher. Her regular jockey Frankie Dettori was not as exuberant as usual when talking about her chances earlier this week, mentioning that she has had a long season. Enable never does anything spectacular at home so he knows he will only find out how she is after the stalls open.
Ulysses (8/1) is drawn next to her in stall two. His jockey Jim Crowley admitted that he would have preferred a wider berth but, as he was next to Enable, it was not so bad. After finishing behind Enable, Ulysses went on to win the Juddmonte International at York, beating Aidan O’Brien’s Churchill two lengths. That was over a mile and a quarter on good to soft ground.
This four-year-old son of Galileo was held up at the back at Ascot and when he beat Barney Roy in the Eclipse but was ridden more handily at York. The consensus is that Ulysses has matured enough to cope with more prominent tactics. Crowley will not want to be at the back of a field of this size and will probably want to keep Enable in his sights. Ulysses was giving Enable a stone at Ascot and has to give her 4lb less here adding to his hopes, he could well give Sir Michael Stoute his second Arc win.
Aidan O’Brien saddled the first three horses home here last year, winning it with Found. He saddles five this time and Ryan Moore has deserted his original intended partner, the St Leger and Irish Derby winner Capri (16/1), to ride the only other three-year-old filly in the race, Winter (8/1). This daughter of Galileo is built on more substantial lines than Enable and sprang a surprise when beating her more fancied stablemate Rhododendron in the 1,000 Guineas under Wayne Lordan.
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Moore partnered her successfully in her next three starts, all against fillies in Group 1s, including the Nassau at Goodwood over a mile and a quarter on soft. Winter was last seen getting beaten in the Matron at Leopardstown in early September but had an excuse as her preparation had been interrupted. This will be her first run against colts and her first experience of a mile and a half but Moore’s decision to ride her suggests that the signs are positive at home. O’Brien says she ‘has good big feet on her’ so give in the ground should not be an issue if she has the stamina for this trip. Rated 119, 7lb below the favourite, she benefits from the same weight allowance and has to have each-way claims.
Winter’s stablemate Order Of St George (10/1) finished third here last year beaten three lengths on ground that was probably not testing enough for him to show his best over this distance. He was last seen romping home in the Irish St Leger beating nothing of note as his only serious competition, Dartmouth, disappointed.
This five-year-old son of Galileo has the stamina for another mile and was only beaten a short head by Big Orange in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. His two easy victories since under Moore should have done him no harm and been positive experiences. Testing ground would play to his strengths but he is ridden by Donnacha O’Brien suggesting that his chances could be compromised by team tactics rather than running on his own merits.
Seamie Heffernan often partners the Ballydoyle second string and he is booked to ride Idaho (33/1) who finished third in the Epsom Derby last year and was only beaten half a length by Harzand in the Irish Derby. This season Idaho took third in the King George and Queen Elizabeth under Heffernan, beaten five lengths by Enable but coping better with the softish ground than his more fancied full brother and fellow stress-head Highland Reel.
Idaho was last seen in late August starting as the favourite under Moore and finishing with only one horse behind him in a Grade 1 in Saratoga over this trip on firm ground. He was ridden prominently and three of the first four horses home came from the back so there may be an excuse other than the rattling ground. Idaho has never managed to get his head in front in a Group 1 but he is not the no-hoper that his price suggests. Forget Saratoga and remember that he finished within a length of Ulysses and he is very interesting each-way.
Wayne Lordan has the job of steering the more straightforward Capri. He has the best recent form of the Ballydoyle bunch but Moore’s defection is a concern. We know that Capri can handle cut in the ground and further than this distance. If Capri performs better at Chantilly than he presumably has at home recently he could be a major player. He would be half his current price if Moore were on board.
Seventh Heaven (40/1) completes the Ballydoyle quintet but this four-year-old filly predictably disappointed last time out on testing ground after a four month absence. She is a class act and won the Yorkshire Oaks but Moore thinks that good ground is key for her. Soft in the going description makes it easy to ignore her.
In contrast more rain would play to the strengths of the challenger from Germany, Dschingis Secret (12/1). Trained by Markus Klug, this four-year-old son of Soldier Hollow scored over course and distance in the Prix Foy on soft three weeks ago, beating Andre Fabre’s favourite, Cloth Of Stars (33/1) a length and a half.
That win was no fluke, Dschingis Secret beat Godolphin’s Hawkbill in a Group 1 in Germany in his previous start in August and has won four of his five starts this year. If Fabre saddled this colt he would be much shorter in the Arc betting but plenty of give in the ground seems important. He is another each-way prospect if the ground is testing.
Jean-Claude Rouget saddles a class act in Brametot (16/1) who disappointed last time out in a Group 2 at Deauville in August but won his three other starts this year. Brametot took the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club here on good to soft in June after starting rather slowly and the Poule d’Essai des Poulains in May at Deauville.
Brametot has only been beaten twice in his eight starts and has two Group 1s to his name, both won by a short head. His part owners Al Shaqab insisted on getting their own vets in after his nine length defeat last time and found a back issue that they treated. Back issues are notoriously difficult to deal with but this is the same team that enabled Treve to overcome hers and gain a second Arc victory. This will be Brametot’s first attempt beyond a mile and a quarter and, although he has two French classics to his name, the jury is out on his ability to follow up here as a son of Rajsaman but his dam’s sire Law Society got the trip in the Irish Derby.
The other locally trained horse with a decent chance is Alain De Royer-Dupre’s Zarak (20/1). This four-year-old son of Dubawi out of the quirky Arc winning Zarkava has impressed since stepping up in trip to this distance of a mile and a half. He was last seen winning the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in July, beating Silverwave (66/1) three quarters of a length. The two month absence is a cause of concern but he is yet another colt capable of springing a surprise.
Our 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Preview’s Each-Way Betting Tip
Enable is the obvious choice here on ratings especially when her gender and age related weight allowance is factored in but she is a filly rather than a machine so we have to look elsewhere for each-way value. Winter may well give her a race if she justifies her jockey’s faith but she is not exciting on that basis at 8/1. Ulysses is improving still but he is another that is rejected on the same grounds.
Brametot is tempting at 16/1 but our Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe preview’s betting tip has to be IDAHO. He can cope with cut in the ground and his close proximity to Ulysses suggests that he could well be in the mix here. Back IDAHO each-way at a best price of 33/1 with Bet365 who are paying an industry-leading quarter the odds a place for the first four places and also offer best odds guaranteed.
Fiona Derek is our Reality TV and horse racing expert. The only time you won’t find her riding or mucking out a racehorse is when she is watching Reality TV or racing on the box.