The Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe, better known as the Arc, is the biggest flat race in Europe. Such is the prestige of the contest, the best turf horses from around the world travel to France each year in October to try and scoop the top prize.
Longchamp is the regular home of the meeting, however, the Paris-based racecourse is still being renovated therefore the 2017 running will be at Chantilly again, which is 38km north of the French capital and is a track used to hosting big races as the Prix Du Jockey Club (French Derby) takes place there.
Here is an early look at the fancied runners for the 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which takes place on October 1.
Due to the weight allowance they receive in the Arc, three-year-olds have an excellent record in the race; 10 of the last 14 winners have been from that age group so the stats buoy well for Enable who has had an excellent campaign in the UK for her trainer John Gosden.
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Enable started her Group One winning run in the Oaks at Epsom. She was too quick for her rivals inside the closing stages where, with regular jockey Frankie Dettori on her back, she stretched away from the field to score by just over five lengths.
A second Classic arrived in Ireland where the three-year-old filly was even more impressive at the Curragh as she was able to ease up inside the closing stages and still prevail by five-and-a-half lengths.
Enable proved how big of a contender she is going to be in the Arc when she was victorious in the Group One King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes against the older horses last month. Despite not having anywhere near as much experience as the majority of runners in the race, she produced a career-best on slow ground to get the better of the likes of Ulysses, Idaho, and Highland Reel in a strong renewal of the Ascot Contest.
Enable is as short as $1 with some bookmakers for the 2017 Arc; however, if she repeats her run in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes with a weight allowance, it is going to take an impressive performance to beat her. If you are looking to place a bet on the Arc, or any other international racing, including daily racing from meetings such as Pakenham, look out for all the best odds on Oddschecker’s comparison site.
The Richard Hannon-trained Barney Roy started the season as a miler as he finished second behind Churchill in the opening British Classic of 2017, the 2000 Guineas. After stepping up recently to 2000m where he has shown improvement, connections are likely to make the trip to France for the Arc in October.
Barney Roy’s biggest win of the campaign so far came in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as he gained revenge on Churchill to take the Group One contest over 1600m. The Godolphin-owned horse was involved in a battle with The Lancaster Bomber inside the closing 200m but was too strong for his rival to claim the prize.
Rather than remain at 1600m for the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, Hannon entered his exciting colt in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown to tackle the older horses for the very first time at 2000m. Despite defeat, Barney Roy enhanced his reputation in the race as he finished ahead of some high-class horses and was only denied the victory by a neck by Ulysses in a photo.
The Arc trip may be unknown territory for the colt in October, however, if it came down to a sprint finish inside the closing 200m, connections will fancy their horse will have a better turn of foot than any of the other runners in the field at Chantilly.
The most consistent middle-distance horse in Europe over the last 12 months has been the Aidan O’Brien-trained Highland Reel. The Irish horse, who is based at Ballydoyle, has scored in three Group One races around the globe in the last 12 months.
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Highland Reel proved that travelling is not a problem for him when he came out on top in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last November at Santa Anita in California, USA. Under the hands of Seamie Hefferman, the pair made all and finished just under two lengths ahead of the favourite Flintshire, while the winner’s stablemate Found had to settle for third place.
The Breeders’ Cup winner started his 2017 campaign in the UAE in the Sheema Classic where he ran very flat on his opening outing of the year. O’Brien’s runner was right back to his best on his return to the UK though as he took the Coronation Cup at Epsom on Derby day, while just weeks later he was back in the winner’s enclosure at Royal Ascot following the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
In 2016 Highland Reel finished second in the Arc as he was only just over a length behind Found who landed the spoils in France. The runner-up tracked the leaders in the early stages of the race and was asked for a challenge with 600m to go. Although he beat some good horses in that 16-runner field, he just did not have the same pace as his stablemate on that occasion.
The leading challenge from the home runners this year in the Arc looks set to come from the 2017 Prix Du Jockey Club winner Brametot. Jean-Claude Rouget’s colt also won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains earlier in the year at Deauville so he has proved he is versatile over a number of different distances.
Brametot has run twice at Chantilly before and has won on both occasions; therefore, he will feel very much at home in October. The Al Shaqab-owned horse hasn’t run over 2400m before though so the trip will be an unfamiliar distance for him.
Connections of the triple Group One winner will be slightly concerned with his latest run at Deauville where he could only finish fifth of the eight runners in the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano Haras du Logis Saint-Germain. The French Derby victor went off as the strong favourite to continue his winning run in 2017, however, he was slowly into his stride and was unable to get back into contention in the race won by the British horse Eminent for trainer Martyn Meade.
The final declarations for the 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be announced 48 hours before the race when the jockey bookings will also be revealed.