Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 2016 Preview
The Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe is run over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs, usually at Longchamp but due to renovations at the track it will take place at Chantilly on Sunday.
The race is certainly the highest quality Group One middle distance event on the European racing calendar and is arguably the best race of this type in the world.
Some true greats have the race over the past fifteen years including Montjeu, Sinndar, Dalakhani, Zarkava , Sea The Stars and Treve.
Here is your runner-by-runner guide to the 2016 renewal:
With six wins on the trot, four being at Group One level (including the last three), arguably the best mile-and-a-half horse in the field and also clear on the official ratings, it is not difficult to see why Postponed is the stand out favourite here.
His lofty rating of 132 has been achieved thanks to career-best efforts when winning the Dubai Sheema Classic by two lengths from Duramente at Meydan in March and when completing a six-timer in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York last time by one and a quarter lengths from Highland Reel.
The Japanese are desperate to win their first Arc and they really do believe they have the horse to do it with this time around.
Makahiki got the better of a sustained battle with Midterm to win the Prix Niel at Chantilly a fortnight ago. This was the colt’s first start since just scrambling home in the Japanese Derby back in May. He needs to find improvement but there is every reason to think he will do so.
Jockey Christophe Lemaire has played a key role in the preparation of Makahiki, who has been in Chantilly for nearly two months already. He takes the ride again on Sunday.
Aidan O’Brien could be triple-handed in the race with Found, runner-up to Almanzor in the Irish Champion, Order of St George and Highland Reel.
O’Brien talked about her at length and how the race at Leopardstown might bottom some horses, yet Found appears to thrive on it. She gets better as the season progresses and this is her time of year. A horse that has finished second in nine Group One’s cannot be dismissed lightly.
Harzand’s participation had been placed in some doubt when he was struck into during the Irish Champion Stakes three weeks ago, just his second defeat in six races.
The dual Derby winning horse is expected to relish the return to a mile and a half on Sunday and his jockey Pat Smullen is confident his mounts strong constitution can only be a positive as he bids for a third win at the highest level.
New Bay warmed up for a second crack at that race after being third 12 months ago when fourth to Almanzor in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Trained by Andre Fabre, New Bay has just one Group Three victory to his name in the last 16 months, but we all know Fabre’s pedigree in this race so he may well step up to the plate.
Trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, Left Hand was a 1/2 length second to Le Cressonniere in the Group One Prix de Diane over 1m 2f at Chantilly.
The 3-y-o next won a Group Three contest at Deauville and then went on to land the Group One Prix Vermeille on Arc Trials Day over course and distance.
The Vermeille has been a key trial and pointer to the Arc over the years and this filly is well worth a second look.
Order Of St George
Order Of St George had won six races on the spin, but suffered a shock defeat in the Irish St Leger when getting turned over by Wicklow Brave.
That was a muddling race, with a small field, in conditions that really did not suit the Aidan O’Brien runner. Order Of St George has been directed towards this race at the expense of a tilt at the Melbourne Cup which could be a highly significant tip in itself.
The Pascal Bary-trained four-year-old won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in July and returned from a break to land the Prix Foy over the Arc course and distance earlier this month. Christophe Soumillon, winner in 2003 and 2008 takes the ride.
King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes victor Highland Reel is the third O’Brien entry and in truth has the most to do of the three.
Savoir Vivre won the Grand Prix de Deauville at the end of August, a race often used as an early prep for the Arc. Prior to that run, Jean-Pierre Carvalho’s three-year-old was second in the German Derby at Hamburg in July.
Talismanic finished a creditable fourth to Almanzor, Zarak and Dicton in the Group One Prix du Jockey-Club on the course on June 5th. He recently won a listed race over a mile and a half at Saint-Cloud. He is generous odds for an Andre Fabre trained horse.
The Grey Gatsby
Kevin Ryan’s grey has already tasted glory in some high-profile races with wins in the 2014 French Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes. The French Derby win was interestingly on this very course.
Siljans Saga will be racing in his third Arc on Sunday. Twelfth in 2014 and eighth in 2015, this year’s Grand Prix de Deauville runner-up has plenty to prove now.
Freddy Head’s runner was third in the Prix Niel behind New Bay and Silverwave in 2015. Two subsequent defeats at odds-on this season offer little encouragement.
One Foot In Heaven
One Foot In Heaven started the season off with wins at Saint-Cloud and Chantilly before being well beaten at both venues again in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud and the Prix Foy.
Alain de Royer Dupré’s second-string has a mountain to climb to figure here. Third place to Talismanic at Saint-Cloud has been the best result the three-year-old has achieved.
With the Japanese horse’s form slightly questionable I am going to leave that runner out of my calculations.
This year’s renewal does appear to be lacking somewhat in terms of strength and depth due to withdrawals and so on. Postponed is a worthy favourite and looks nailed on for the top three, but could something else pick him off?
Two possible candidates are the proverbial bridesmaid Found, and O’Brien’s other runner Order Of St George. Found’s season has been geared towards this race and she is almost be certain to be on the premises come the business end.
Order Of St George’s “blip” last time can safely be written off and he really does look like a strapping Arc type. Chantilly’s gradual rise should suit him down to a tee and I predict he will come and grind them down late in the last two furlongs.
1.Order Of St George 2.Found 3.Postponed (combination forecast)