Everyone’s had their say for one of the great races of the season in France on Sunday but the real experts break it down horseflesh-by-expensive-horseflesh:
New Bay (Andre Fabre) 2015 French Derby winner capped three-year-old season with fine third in this race. Below form in first two starts of the current campaign, but fared better than the bare result when fourth on his most recent outing in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and holds obvious claims if arriving in the same form as 12 months ago.
Postponed (Roger Varian) Best older middle-distance horse in Europe on Timeform ratings and completed six-timer with convincing victory in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York last time. Demonstrated his versatility when scoring over a mile and a quarter that day, but this arguably his optimum trip and looks the one to beat granted luck in running.
Migwar (Freddie Head) Very smart three-year-old last season and only beaten four and a quarter lengths when third to New Bay in the Prix Niel. Yet to reproduce that level of form in three starts this year, though, and balance of form suggests he simply isn’t good enough.
Highland Reel (Aidan O’Brien) Won three times in 2015, including Secretariat Stakes at Arlington and Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. Better than ever when winning King George at Ascot in July, but seemingly had his limitations exposed when behind some of these rivals last twice and appears to have place prospects at best here.
One Foot In Heaven (Alain de Royer Dupré) Completed hat-trick in Grand Prix de Chantilly over this C&D in June and better effort still when two lengths sixth in Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud next time. Should strip fitter for comeback here in Prix Foy, but plenty to find with principals on form and others make more appeal.
The Grey Gatsby (Kevin Ryan) French Derby (at this venue) and Irish Champion Stakes winner in 2014 and has continued to run well without winning since. Lacklustre effort when only sixth in Juddmonte International at York last time, though, and yet to convince that he is equally effective over this longer trip.
Silverwave (Pascal Bary) Better than ever since joining this yard at the end of last year, winning Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Prix Foy over this C&D on last two starts. The booking of Christophe Soumillon is another positive, but more needed if he is to make his presence felt in this company.
Order of St George (Aidan O’Brien) High-class stayer won Irish St Leger as a three-year-old in 2015 and finished strongly to record second Group 1 victory in Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Probably should have won when attempting to defend his Irish Leger crown last time and is respected now dropped in trip.
Siljan’s Saga (Jean-Pierre Gauvin) Won Grand Prix de Deauville and produced best effort when eighth in this race in 2015. Similar form when placed on last three starts, but unlikely to be making breakthrough at the top level here and will do well to better last year’s finishing position.
Found (Aidan O’Brien) Consistent mare suffered trouble-in-running when ninth to Golden Horn in this race 12 months ago and reversed form with that rival in Breeders’ Cup Turf. Runner-up in Group 1 company last five starts, but nothing wrong with her attitude and shortlisted on the back of career-best behind Almanzor in Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last time.
Harzand (Dermot Weld) High-class colt has won first four times this term, including Derby at Epsom and Irish Derby at the Curragh. Run best excused when only eighth behind several of these on his most recent outing in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown (reportedly struck into and finishing lame) and looks best of the three-year-olds in contention here.
Vedevani (Alain de Royer-Dupre) Smart performer ran respectably when third on his most recent outing in a Saint-Cloud listed race, but that form well below the required standard here and looks set to take up pacemaking duties for the same owner’s Harzand.
Talismanic (Andre Fabre) Beaten just four and a half lengths when fourth in the French Derby here in June and didn’t need to reproduce that level of form to land listed race at Saint-Cloud last time. Interesting that he is allowed to take his chance for trainer with a fine record in this race, but this by far the toughest task of his short career to date.
Makahiki (Yasuo Tomomichi) Very smart performer appeared to relish step up to this trip when landing the Japanese Derby at Tokyo in May and returned from nearly four months off the track with good Prix Niel victory over the C&D last time. One of the likelier candidates on form and should run well for nation seeking a first victory in the Arc.
Savoir Vivre (Jean-Pierre Carvalho) Narrowly denied when second in Germany Derby at Hamburg in July and confirmed promise of that effort with victory on his most recent outing in the Grand Prix de Deauville. Open to more improvement after just five starts, but was all out to hold on last time and easily passed over here.
Left Hand (Carlos Laffon-Parias) Close-coupled filly showed improved form when second in the French Oaks here in June and ran to similar level when successful in Group company the last twice, including Prix Vermeille over the C&D last time. Three-year-old fillies have good recent record in this race, but up against it somewhat on form.
Timeform Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 1-2-3:
Order of St George
POSTPONED is unlikely to find this a walk in the park, but he’s been imperious so far this year, whatever challenge he has faced, and is the one to beat. Aidan O’Brien holds the key to the strength of opposition, with Found perhaps the most obvious threat, though stablemate Order of St George could also run well at big odds with the drop back in trip unlikely to faze him.