Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - Part 1
In this short series I will be looking at the potential runners for next Sundays Arc and their chances of landing the biggest prize in European racing.
Her whole season revolves around this race, this is the reason that she was kept in training at 6. I can forgive her for last years defeat in this race behind Waldgeist. as she was unsuited by the way the race panned out. Most of the field seemed to be obsessed with not allowing Ghaiyyath a soft lead and as such they got racing far too soon. Waldgeist benefitted from a clever ride, being held away from the pace and then using his stamina and his liking for the heavy ground to maximum effect when it mattered.
I have no doubt that Frankie Dettori will have learned lessons from last year and may be more patient this time around. She has had a quiet 2020 campaign, 2nd on her comeback behind Ghaiyyath in the Eclipse, followed by facile wins in a 3-runner King George at Ascot and then the September Stakes at Kempton. This is most likely to be her final appearance on a racecourse and John Gosden will no doubt have her spot on in terms of fitness. She is the classiest race mare in a generation and has been there and done it, but, she is 6-years-old now. This looks to be a stronger renewal than last year and I think she is vulnerable to younger legs this time around, especially if the ground turns soft. At around 6/4, I can easily look elsewhere.
A 1,000 Guineas winner, an Oaks winner, 3 from 3 this season, all in Group 1 races, there is lots to like about Love. Aiden O'Brien is a master with middle distance fillies and having won this in similar style with Found in 2016, he has every chance of repeating the feat with Love. As a daughter of Galileo, she is bred for this and she has the perfect mix of stamina and tactical speed for Paris Longchamp.
The only holes I can find are in the form behind her. There is no doubt that she is the best 3-year-old filly in the UK and Ireland, but what has she beaten. The form of both the 1,000 Guineas (where Cloak of Spirits and Quadrilateral filled the places) and the Oaks (Ennistymon and Frankly Darling) look suspect with hindsight. Even in the Yorkshire Oaks, arguably her most impressive performance, the 2nd home, Alpinista was rated just 97 (now increased to 113) and has been beaten since. On Sunday, Love will face a calibre of opponent 20lbs higher than she has met before and she has to prove that she can deliver the goods against the very best. Much like Enable, any value in her price is long gone and at around 2/1, I'd be more happy to lay rather than back.
The Champion Stayer. The best horse over 2 miles and beyond for a generation. His CV cannot be argued with and were this race over 2-miles, he would be an absolute certainty. But it isn't. At 12-furlongs he has a lot of questions to answer. His 2nd place in the Prix Foy, behind Anthony Van Dyck has done nothing to change my mind. Yes, the sectionals clearly show that they went a crawl and it turned into a sprint. That obviously didn't suit him, but this was Anthony Van Dyck, not Battaash who beat him. That form must leave him a long way short of what is needed here.
All that being said, there is hope for Stradivarius backers and it comes in the shape of Olivier Peslier, the perfect jockey booking. A master around Paris Longchamp, he will know what to do. To my eyes, this needs to be a proper stamina test for Stradivarius to win and he may well need to make his own running to do so, but that's not impossible.