Betting Tip: @ Sea Of Class @ 7/2 with bet365
Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe revolves around last year’s winner Enable who is bidding to become only the third filly – following Corrida (1936/37) and Treve (2013/14) – to gain a second victory and the eighth horse to win two Arcs. Nobody could get near her 12 months ago and if turning up in the same sort of form, there can only be one winner – she’s a worthy favourite in my book and arguably should be shorter than the current 5/4.
However, John Gosden’s star filly couldn’t have had a more contrasting preparation this time round having been sidelined by injury and only reappearing on the all-weather at Kempton last month. In shrugging aside the top class Crystal Ocean (who was giving her 8lb) she confirmed her well-being and she’s reportedly been sailing through her recent work on the home gallops, but is she really the same filly who dominated the middle-distance scene last year with five straight Group 1 wins?
We’ll soon find out and there are two crucial factors that will surely have an influence on how she performs: the ground and the draw. Conditions are currently on the fast side at Longchamp after a long spell without rain, which has done nothing to help the newly-laid (and much criticised) track bed in. There is some rain forecast but whether it will be enough to turn the ground genuinely soft, which is what Enable needs ideally, remains to be seen and I’d wager it will be closer to good than soft. And if she’s drawn ten or higher, it could prove to be an insurmountable task – history tells us that on good ground with the rail at its innermost (as it will be Sunday) a low number is pretty much essential.
We’ll know on Thursday how she has fared in that respect but it makes sense at the time of writing to look at alternatives and it’s clear that Waldgeist is many people’s idea of value at around the 7/1 mark. There is certainly a lot to like about Andre Fabre’s four-year-old who warmed up for this by brushing aside two stablemates – Talismanic, who looked most ready of the trio for the race, and last year’s Arc runner-up Cloth Of Stars – in the Prix Foy three weekends ago. That was probably the best performance by any horse in France this year and the son of Galileo is sure to strip fitter here, although the stats are against him as horses coming from that Arc trial are 0-30 in the big one since 2008, while all bar one of Fabre’s seven Arc winners were aged three.
I’m still expecting a career best from him but given the recent record of fillies – they have won six of the last seven runnings, taking advantage of the generous age/sex allowance – I’m more inclined to side with William Haggas’ SEA OF CLASS. She’s half the price of Waldgeist at 7/2 and that looks plenty short enough on what she’s actually achieved, albeit she has progressed through the ranks this season and absolutely pulverised some classy fillies in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks last time. Only supplemented by connections for this race on Wednesday, who will have been encouraged by the latest going reports as she prefers it quick, she gives the impression that the better the race, the stronger the pace, the better she will be. I just hope that her regular partner James Doyle, who is 4-5 on her, can get down to the 8st 9lb required (his day-to-day minimum is 8st 12lb) without compromising his strength in the saddle.
But that’s not a big enough concern to put me off making her my headline tip, although I suggest holding back from backing her until Thursday’s draw is known – I will provide an update on that here and we’ll hopefully have a better idea then on the likely state of the ground. One thing seems certain, though, is that conditions are going to be too fast for Enable’s stablemate Cracksman (non-runner), who is fifth favourite in most lists despite not looking quite the same horse who excelled last year in three runs this term, and I’m no fan either of St Leger winner Kew Gardens. No horse has gone on to win an Arc after landing the Doncaster Classic and better ones than him have failed. It’s hard to make a case for anything else.
DRAW UPDATE: It’s good news for Enable backers as she has drawn stall 6, while Sea Of Class (15) and Waldgeist (13) have not been done too many favours. Golden Horn (2015) is the only horse to have won from a double-figure stall at Longchamp in the last 22 years when the ground description contained the word ‘good’, which seems very likely. Still, with Sea Of Class almost certain to be dropped out and waited with, it’s not quite the killer blow to her chances it first appears, although confidence has been dented.
Sea Of Class @ 7/2 bet365
Betting Tip: @ Sea Of Class @ 7/2 with bet365
All odds were correct at time of posting.