Ed Chamberlin: Arc day stands out
Sky Sports presenter Ed Chamberlin looks ahead to his favourite day of the Flat season and reflects on an intriguing battle at the top of the Premier League table.
- Related Content
I was pleased to dig out the Cambridgeshire winner, Educate, in last week's column and now I'd love to find the winner of the big race on my favourite race day of the flat season - Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe day at Longchamp. I had my stag do at this magical occasion in Paris, and returned for many years after that, for a race day unlike anything we serve up in this country.
Champions Day moving to Ascot is a vast improvement on the soulless affair at Newmarket but still has a long way to go to match Arc day. While Newmarket's Champions Day was quiet and bleak, Longchamp is packed to the rafters plus a sea of noise and colour, with Parisien fashion and style all around the racecourse. The French know how to put on a show.
The French v English rivalry helps as British punters flock across the Channel to add to the atmosphere but that's not going to be a feature of the Arc this year as Al Kazeem is our only representative and he looks to have little chance. Aidan O'Brien is having a real go and Leading Light looks his best hope. The St Leger winner is fast improving and not given the credit he deserves but I'd be surprised if he's good enough to win a race of this quality.
I said after the race last year that I'd be backing Orfevre if he made it to the 2013 renewal. He's made it and looks in superb form after a stunning performance in his trial last month. In last year's Arc he produced a remarkable effort from stall 18 and looked certain to win when he burst to the front. Christophe Soumillon had got there too soon, probably taken by surprise by how much ground Orfevre made up so quickly. He knows the horse much better now.
What just puts me off is that Orfevre is a short price and plenty of high-profile horses running for a second time in the Arc have failed dismally. I'm also struggling to see where the pace in the race is going to come from. It's likely to be a scrum in the straight and to win you'll need a lot of luck and a serious turn of foot.
Treve has the latter big-time. Her change of gear in the Prix Vermeille was as impressive a burst of speed as I have seen in a long time. She was electric. I think the race will be run to suit Treve on Sunday and just hope she finds a gap.
This year's Arc has real depth and quality but I do think the top two in the market, Orfevre and Treve, stand out from the rest. I'm taking Treve's turn of foot to prove decisive.
Finally, good luck to Richard Fahey in Paris. Conditions look like being perfect for Garswood in the Foret and I hope he runs a big race.