I WAS miffed when Channel 4 announced it was not screening the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe live this year. One of the world’s greatest races – in some eyes THE greatest race – should not be absent from our terrestrial television screens. It will be shown on At The Races, Racing UK and now Sky Sports and fair play to all three. But not everybody has access to those channels, especially older viewers, who would simply – and rightly – expect the Arc to be on their telly for free on October 2. A poor do! I dearly hope ITV realises the significance of Arc day and makes a big deal of its coverage in 2017.
The 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will take place at Chantilly as Longchamp continues its redevelopment and, as ever, the race is likely to be a who’s who of thoroughbred excellence. So what of this year’s leading players?
POSTPONED: If he is to live to up to his billing as the best older horse in training, then he will have to win the Arc. But while he may have appeared visually unimpressive in the International at York, I think that was a huge performance over an inadequate trip of 1m 2f. It will take a good one to beat this five-year-old if he brings his A-game and his form looks pretty bombproof. However three-year-olds have a much better record in the race and 10/3 looks a little short.
ALMANZOR: Mightily impressive in beating a stellar field in the Irish Champion Stakes, he offers decent value at 6-1 if he runs here instead of the Champions Stakes at Ascot. I think he may end up shorter. But the one hole in his armoury is that he is unproven over 1m 4f although the way he gobbled up the ground at Leopardstown in the closing stages suggests that he should get the trip. Nevertheless, Ascot seems a more likely destination.
MAKAHIKI: The Prix Niel winner is the great hope of Japan and he won that Group Two race a shade cosily suggesting there is more to come and that he is being primed for the Arc. An interesting contender and will continue the Japanese obsession in trying to win this race.
FOUND: Such an admirably consistent mare but her best trip is undoubtedly 1m 2f. She would have finished closer last year with a clearer passage. She could improve on last year and pinch a place.
HARZAND: A line can be drawn through his eighth in the Irish Champion Stakes as he was struck into during the race and finished lame. If he recovers to run and the ground is soft then he could rate excellent value at around 10/1. However, like Minding, he has had a tough campaign and it will be asking a lot.
ORDER OF ST GEORGE: The Ascot Gold Cup winner was turned over in the Irish St Leger and while champion stayers often run well in the race the best he can hope for is a place. He is currently best priced 20/1.
Postponed to win
Highland Reel each way