The top races taking place on Arc weekend are already filling up as trainers from across Europe and beyond set their sights on some of the huge prizes on offer at ParisLongchamp on the first weekend of October.
In particular the Prix de l’Abbaye and the feature race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, are already taking shape with some of the biggest names in the game set to line-up.
Enable to Face Serious Challenge in Hunt for Third Arc
The Queen of the Turf is the eighth horse to have won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice, but no horse has ever won this iconic race three times.
Another mare, Treve, was the last to attempt it but failed behind Golden Horn and given how competitive this year’s race is shaping up to be, John Gosden must be fearing a similar result. The masterful Newmarket trainer could have had an embarrassment of riches in this race with Stradivarius, Star Catcher and Logician all capable of lining up but of course as long as Enable is ready to do the business, none of her stablemates will be heading to Paris and be given the chance to spoil the party.
Andre Fabre has pointed at the wondermare as the biggest danger to his Waldgeist, although that’s rather obvious since Enable is 3-0 up against him from past meetings! He did manage to win the Prix Foy in pretty good style last Sunday however and looks set for a career best, something that would make him very dangerous indeed on home soil. Japanese globetrotter Deirdre may yet appear in the big race too after trainer Mitsuru Hashida commented that she may be sent there before heading to the Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot later in the month, a move that could prove fruitful as female horses have a very good record in this race.
The real danger could actually come from Godolphin’s up-and-coming four-year-old Ghaiyyath though, a wide-margin winner of the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden recently.
True, that form is nothing outstanding, but he is five from 7 now and given that his incredible win last time was achieved on his first attempt at a mile-and-a-half, we can expect plenty more from him. If the official handicappers are right about him, any improvement at Longchamp would make him too good for Enable even with her weight allowance.
Three-year-olds Japan, who was excellent in the Juddmonte International at York, and French Derby winner Sottsass will also be big players in what looks a vintage renewal.
Battaash Primed for Abbaye
Two years ago, brilliant sprinter Battaash blitzed the field in the Prix de l’Abbaye and despite some disappointments since, he appears to be in the form of his life as he attempts to do it again.
Leaving behind previous failures on the Knavesmire, Battaash destroyed a very good field including Ten Soveriegns in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last month and has been kept fresh by missing the Flying Five over in Ireland. He will be primed for this race and rates a very solid favourite indeed.
One to challenge Charlie Hills’ stable star, alongside old rival and July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns, could be James Tate’s Invincible Army. Having progressed well and taken the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle over six furlongs in June, the four-year-old stayed on well to run third behind Fairyland in the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh and his trainer is now eyeing up the Abbaye for him.
Mab’s Cross may appear again, but in all honesty if Battaash is in the mood he could make even his current short price of a general 4/5 look silly on the day.