Paris in October. A city of romance, life and also racing. It’s time once again for the Arc de Triomphe which will keep jumps fans entertained until the National Hunt season gets underway, when you’ll be able to take advantage of Cheltenham free bets.
But back to the big race this weekend which takes place at the new Paris-Longchamp. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Last year’s extraordinary winner Enable returns to defend her crown after a truncated season which saw her miss racing until September, when on her return to the track she trashed Crystal Ocean at Kempton. Assuming no bounce, she is a rightful favourite even if she’s quite short in the betting now.
Sea Of Class has very much followed in the footsteps of Enable, taking the season by storm with a late turn of foot to win the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks. William Haggas’ filly has benefited hugely from a dry year and dry Autumn allows her to take her chance here and of course, she benefits from numerous allowances as a three year old. These 2 give Britain a strong hand in proceedings with Waldgeist the leading French contender.
Waldgeist dismissed a strong field in the Prix Foy on the bridle, with Talismanic (former Breeders’ Cup winner) and last year’s second Cloth Of Stars well beaten. That is incredibly strong form at face value, and he has a serious each/way chance at 7/1 for Arc expert Andre Fabre.
Aidan O’Brien has resumed normal service – sweeping all before him in previous weeks – and his team are all worth attention. Kew Gardens’ Leger win was a career best, with his defeat of the extremely exciting Lah Ti Dar earning him a spot and a much boosted reputation. More patient tactics have reaped huge befits for him but stablemate Capri maybe more interesting. The form of his Irish Derby and St Leger wins from last year are outstanding and whilst he was nowhere in the Prix Foy, that run should have brought him on a great deal. Donnacha O’Brien, on a hot streak of late, and has quickly reached the level that his brother Joseph did when riding, and he currently rides full of confidence.
Stablemate Magical could enjoy this step up in trip but perhaps we’ve seen her limit and Study Of Man was a disappointment in the Irish Champion Stakes, a result which suggests he’s not much better than his Prix Du Jockey Club win. Defoe’s latest second at Baden-Baden was his third blank in Group 1 company and this could be too tough for him.
At fair each-way value I’m going to plump for Waldgeist to win the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the home team.
1 pt each/way Waldgeist (7/1 generally)