VERY few races capture the imagination like the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. Dancing Brave, Sea The Stars and last year’s stunning winner Treve are just a few of the equine luminaries to grace the winner’s enclosure at Longchamp. This Sunday’s race is another mouth-watering affair and as competitive as ever. Only the absence of Epsom Derby winner Australia denies the race of some of its lustre. But it remains a stellar field and it could be another year for the ladies…
For me, the abiding image of this season was TAGHROODA trouncing Telescope in the King George at Ascot. It was a peerless performance that only magnified the shock of her defeat to Tapestry in the Yorkshire Oaks in August. Maybe Ascot was Taghrooda’s zenith and saw the filly at the peak of her powers? But I feel she is the best horse in Sunday’s race. And despite a poor draw, she still has the class to beat the boys, granted luck in running. Tapestry has improved and could figure after being supplemented for £120,000 but I expect Taghrooda to turn the tables.
Last year’s Derby winner Ruler of the World is interesting and bounced back to form last time and there would be a certain irony if Frankie Dettori was to triumph after losing the ride on Treve. Talking of Treve, if anybody had said a few months ago that she would be as high as 10-1 in the market for the Arc, they would have been certified insane! But she seems to have lost her way and is yet to win in three runs. Thierry Jarnet is reunited with her and the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is a race that often brings out the best in certain horses. Remember Alleged? Or even Youmzain?
Victory for Al Kazeem would be a brilliant story after his failure at stud but I can’t see him being good enough while Just a Way and Harp Star provide Japan with another big chance of an elusive first success in the race.
Kingston Hill won the St Leger like the Group One horse he is. But, to me at least, he won like a stayer. He is solid each-way value and should run a big race despite a bad draw. The unbeaten Ectot is improving and on an upward curve and also won the Prix Niel a shade cosily.
But it is Taghrooda for me to round off a brilliant season for Sheikh Hamdan and Paul Hanagan.