It’s mid-July. The sun is shining and birds are singing. So what better time to start thinking about the first Sunday in October, and more specifically, Europe’s richest horse race – the Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe.
Enable has just completed the English-Irish Oaks double, by an aggregate 10.5 lengths, and we’re now going to look at why she’s a good bet to go onto even better things in Chantilly this Autumn.
Will she run?
This is an antepost bet, meaning stakes will be lost if she doesn’t run. So, we’ll address the first question a punter should ask before placing any antepost bet – will I get a run for my money?
The answer for me is a confident ‘yes’. The Arc has already been mentioned as a potential target by Enable’s racing manager, Lord Grimthorpe. She’ll have to be supplemented at a cost of €120,000, but the owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, isn’t short of a few bob, and trainer John Gosden has plenty of form for high-profile supplementary entries (Wings Of Desire for last year’s Derby, and Golden Horn for the 2015 Derby).
In the meantime, she could well take in the Yorkshire Oaks next month – the same path taken by the Gosden-trained Taghrooda, en route to her superb third in the 2014 Arc.
It’s no secret that three-year-old’s have a fine record in the French showpiece with 17 of the last 23 winners coming from that age group.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that four of the last nine winners have been three year old fillies. This is due to the generous weight concessions by the older horses in favour of the Classic generation, particularly for the fairer sex.
A four-year-old colt will have to give Enable 11 pounds in the race. No mean feat.
Frankie Dettori will be in the saddle and no other jockey still riding has won the October feature more than our Lanfranco, who has four victories to his name.
Watch Enable win the Darley Irish Oaks for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden. pic.twitter.com/KLINbu1vvI
— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) July 15, 2017
Who does she have to beat?
This is where the selection begins to look a real betting prospect. The field is looking thinner than Arsenal’s title chances and we’re running out of time for others to emerge as serious candidates.
Market rivals as it stands on PaddyPower.com:
Almanzor: The best horse in Europe last year, but hasn’t run since October 2016, has never run over the mile and a half trip, and will be giving Enable those 11 pounds. No thanks.
Brametot: – A fine season so far. Looks like he’ll stay the trip but does have to go and prove that. His form of beating Waldgeist by a short head hasn’t exactly been franked, with the runner-up finishing fourth in a fairly unspectacular Irish derby.
Satono Diamond: No Japanese horse has won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and it isn’t for lack of trying. Satono Diamond has done all his racing on firm ground, over a variety of trips (last time over two miles) and as an older colt, will have plenty of lead in the saddle to contend with.
Highland Reel: Adore him as we all do, you’d think it’s unlikely he’ll get his preferred fast ground in France in October.
Ulysses: Hard to get right, and it’s increasingly looking like the 1m 4f trip is two furlongs beyond his optimum trip.
Waldgeist: See Brametot.
We’re then into 20/1 territory, with horses who either simply don’t look good enough, or probably won’t be running.
So, who’s able to beat Enable? She stays the trip. She doesn’t appear ground-dependant. Her Irish Oaks victory (under a hands and heels ride) has given her a higher RPR than the great Snow Fairy achieved for winning the same race back in 2010, so she has the class.
How long ’til October 1st?