Simon Holt sets the scene ahead of Enable's history bid in the Arc, but when it comes to best bets at ParisLongchamp he's casting the net wider.
ENABLE has a glorious chance of galloping into racing history at Longchamp on Sunday by becoming the first horse to win the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for a third time.
This outstanding mare, who followed up her 2017 success 12 months ago to join seven other dual winners despite an interrupted preparation, has looked in tremendous form this season winning the Coral-Eclipse, the King George and the Yorkshire Oaks.
A smaller than average field of 12 should help guard against any bad luck which might stand between Enable and horse racing immortality and, in Frankie Dettori, she will have the guidance of a master tactician and a jockey who invariably rises to the big occasion.
On form, it is very difficult to see why the likes of Magical or Waldgeist, neither of whom have beaten the favourite in several clashes, should turn the tables while the promising Ghaiyyath, a wide-margin winner in Germany last time (but well beaten by Waldgeist in the Prix Ganay earlier in the season), and Prix du Jockey Club hero Sottsass surely have to find more improvement for all their potential against a horse of this class.
Juddmonte International winner Japan also needs to find more as the York race has been let down by Elarqam (third) and King Of Comedy (fourth), and his earlier Grand Prix de Paris victory looks modest form for this level.
Meanwhile, the Japanese return to try again in their so-far luckless search for an Arc winner but expectations do not appear too high compared to those that surrounded past runners and near-missers, in particular the incredibly talented Orfevre who threw away almost certain victory in 2012 and then went down by five lengths to Treve a year later.
It’s possible there may be some value in Waldgeist each-way as he wasn't beaten so far in the King George (closing on Enable and Crystal Ocean late on) and didn't enjoy the best of runs when fourth here last year. The likely cut in the ground may not be ideal, but the ratings show that Andre Fabre's colt is an improved performer this season and he was certainly impressive in his trial, the Prix Foy.
Otherwise, unless you're a big player at short odds, for most punters this will be a race to watch and enjoy with the hope for a result that will see the thousands of British racegoers travelling over to Paris this weekend returning home with a song in their hearts.
Earlier, MARIETA could be the filly to beat in the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac.
An eight-length winner of her maiden in July, the daughter of Siyouni split last week’s Cheveley Park third Tropbeau and Grade One Woodbine runner-up Walk In Marrakech in the Prix du Calvados at Deauville last month.
On that form, she could be good value to topple Savarin, who prevailed in a bunch finish to the Prix D’Aumale here recently when Flighty Lady was less than a length away in third and the re-opposing Nunzia and Kenlova finished fifth and sixth.
Jessie Harrington’s Albigna looked good when winning her first two starts but was a little disappointing in the Moyglare more recently.
In the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, ECRIVAIN is taken to build on a convincing defeat of Hopeful and Al Dabaran (subsequently first and second in the Prix de la Conde) over the course and distance last month.
Maxime Guyon’s mount is a really taking son of Lope De Vega and, while the unbeaten Andre Fabre-trained Victor Ludorum is clearly promising, I am convinced the selection is smart.
Aidan O’Brien’s Armory is highly regarded but was beaten fully nine lengths by Pinatubo in the National Stakes at The Curragh and the form of his earlier victories hasn’t worked out too well.
Later, HEY GAMAN could take some catching in the Qatar Prix de la Foret.
Just about the only prominent racer in the field, James Tate's strapping four-year-old could be in the ideal position to kick early in the home straight on a course where he has thrived in the past.
Indeed, Hey Gaman has a record of 231 in three visits to Longchamp having been beaten a neck by Olmedo in the French Guineas last year before finishing third to Ostilio on this card over a mile, and then winning a Group Three over the course and distance in May.
A subsequent second to Romanised (Safe Voyage third at The Curragh) looks strong form now and one suspects his latest below-par effort at Newbury can be forgiven after a close second to Sir Dancealot (will need the ground to dry out here) at Goodwood just over a fortnight earlier.
Hay Gaman probably goes best when fresh and and a big run can be expected here at decent odds following a seven-week break and over an ideal course and distance.
Posted at 1755 on 05/10/19.