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The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe preview

The biggest day in European flat racing (for me anyway) is Arc day at Longchamp. A terrific field has been assembled with plenty of chances. I've taken the reins for this one. Last year I gave Solemia a chance in my preview but didn't back her. It was only after I got a few thank you tweets that I noticed how much chance I'd given her! Don't be afraid of backing something at odds - Danedream and Solemia in the last two years haven't been favoured...


Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Very Nice Name. Qatari-owned runner with a stupid name. Beaten 3.5L in the Dubai Sheema Classic behind St Nicholas Abbey and three lengths behind Orfevre in the Prix Foy with every chance. Doesn't have the turn of foot to win an elite race like this. Peslier jumps off, replaced by Italian jockey I am unfamiliar with. 160 on Betfair, might get a nice smother from gate 1 but that probably means he runs seventh rather than fourteenth. Prix Foy replay

Novellist - unfortunately a non-runner.

Al Kazeem - England's great hope but after four consecutive wins early in the season, the lustre has faded with defeats to Declaration of Water in the Juddmonte and then The Fugue in the Irish Champion. First run over 2400m since destroying the field at Newmarket in the Jockey Club Stakes. Doubt the step up in distance will matter much though. 21 on Betfair is no value considering he has drawn the car park. Coral Eclipse replay

Joshua Tree - out of his depth here. Honest horse able to grab 'cheap' G1s in North America, might have even been competitive in a Caulfield Cup, but won't be troubling these. 200 on Betfair. Might set the pace. Second in the Prix Kergolay.

Meandre - well travelled 5yo now residing in the Czech Republic. Won a weak German G1 last start, not the formline required to improve on his two previous Arc starts - sixth and 12th. Barrier 2 means he starts 66/1 rather than 150/1. Third in the Grosser Preis von Baden

Orfevre - Japanese superstar with a few demons. Traded 1.01 last year then shied at something inside the rail and was swamped by Solemia near the line. Incredible record winning almost £10m in 17 starts. Soumillon takes the mount again, he's better prepared to deal with his quirks. 5/1 last year, this time he's half that price. Drawn perfectly in 8 and must go very close but do you really want to go taking that price in a hot field? His career race collection and his effortless prep race win, the Prix Foy.

Going Somewhere - Brazilian-bred horse who won the G1 Carlos Pellegrini in Argentina last year at big odds. Appeared to have every chance in the Prix Foy, but he was first up after 15 weeks and probably using it as a prep run for this. Obviously has talent but would be massive surprise for him to win, as hinted by his BF price - 250. Might be silly odds for a place though from gate six, that replay shows he's no slouch when the gaps appear.

Haya Landa - one win from 21 starts. Ran fourth last year at 150/1 (drew 1), providing the bulk of her career prizemoney. No hope of repeating that from gate 17. Trainer should have her licence revoked for constantly running this horse out of her depth. Give her a chance to win a race ffs... Best run this season, third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud

Pirika - another mare out of her depth, has at least won a G3 this year. Ran fourth in the Prix de L'Opera on this day last year. Drawn 3 but no advantage for her, she'll drop out the back. Can't see why she's only 50 on Betfair.

Flintshire - seemed to have every possible chance in the Prix Niel when he started 13/8f, but perhaps that was due to soft ground (two defeats to date have been on soft tracks). How much rain will hit Longchamp by race time? 3yo Dansili colt trained by Andre Fabre, ridden by Maxime Guyon. Great turn of pace, drawn ideally in 7. Has plenty going in his favour if you can forgive his last run. Keep an eye on the clouds. Winning the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris.

Leading Light - tough Ballydoyle colt who won the English St.Leger last time out after taking out the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot. Tough stayer, perhaps needed a pacemaker in to really stretch them out. Drawn well in five, you would think he must force the pace early to nullify the accleration of the leading fancies. St.Leger win

Ocovango - Monsun colt who was unbeaten heading to Epsom for the Derby and hasn't won since. Each of those race winners oppose him here and no reason to expect him to turn the tables. Won't get many favours from gate 13, trading at 60 on Betfair.

Penglai Pavilion - yet another Fabre entry, this time with an alternative formline. Ran a close second to Tres Blue at Deauville, a horse who is now reasonably high in the betting for the Melbourne Cup. Probably the third pick of five for Fabre, Guyon steps off and hands the ride to Barzalona. Deauville replay

Kizuna - could this be the one to break the Japanese duck in the Arc? Trainer Shozo Sazaki declared the horse only 80% fit when he won the Prix Niel, but at the same time, I think a few others were underdone too. The wraps on this one are big, and his sire Deep Impact, who went close here a few years ago, is the dominant sire in Japan. Japanese Derby win.

Ruler of the World - English Derby winner who went down to Kizuna by a nose in the Prix Niel. Disappointed in the Irish Derby in between when odds-on. Must have a genuine chance in this if he has tightened up since his last run. Will start from gate six, was more like 16/1 before the draw, now you can only get single figures. Derby win.

Sahawar - should be 1000, can see no reason why he is in the field. Has never competed above Listed class previously, nor raced in a field larger than seven. Hopefully won't get in the way of too many from gate 16.

Intello - Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) winner back in June but stamina queries have seen him run at a mile more often since then. Latest win over 2100m was in very slow time, over nine seconds above standard, albeit on a soft track. When a trainer such as Andre Fabre has concerns over his stamina, that can't be ignored. Prix du Jockey Club win.

Treve - super filly unbeaten from four starts. Won the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) by 4L at just her third start. Then beat high-class staying mare Wild Coco in the Prix Vermeille. Possesses an explosive turn of foot, more than a few are comparing her to the great Zarkava. Dettori was down to ride but broke his ankle during the week. Thierry Jarnet takes the mount, he rode her in the Diane, so nothing lost there. Drawn 15, might strike trouble from out there. Prix Vermeille replay


Hard to put a line on these, it might just a year for three year-olds again.

Ruler of the World
Going Somewhere
Flintshire (higher if rain hasn't arrived)
Penglai Pavilion

Have backed Kizuna and Flintshire ante-post, will probably focus on exotics now.


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