All eyes will be on Chantilly this weekend for the world renowned Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe – one of the biggest races on the racing calendar. Some excellent horses have won this race over the years, Sea the Stars memorably romping home in 2009 while Treve won back-to-back renewals of the race in 2013 and 2014. And this year, it looks to be a very competitive field ahead of Sunday’s big meeting.
Cracksman has been officially ruled out in advance of the trip to France but there are still plenty of top contenders in the mix ahead of the first declaration stage. Irish St Leger winner Order of St George, Juddmonte International victor Ulysses and Epsom Coronation Cup star Highland Reel will all be involved in what is a star-studded line-up. Here are our thoughts on the famous race.
Enable: The One To Beat?
Reports suggest that Enable, the John Gosden-trained mare, will be supplemented for this race on Wednesday and she could be the one to beat this weekend. Already a four-time Group One winner, Enable is one of the dominant forces in flat racing right now and you’d be hard pressed to find a three year old that is capable of defeating her.
In fact, nobody has really pushed her close. She has won all four major races by more than four lengths and it would take a brave man to back against her, albeit at what is a very different racecourse. With the reliable Frankie Dettori in the saddle, Enable could be set for a fifth successive Group One victory to cap off a sensational 2017 campaign.
Ulysses Needs A Bit Of Luck
A Group One winner in his own right, Sir Michael Stoute’s Ulysses will need good fortune in order to prevail at Chantilly. Beaten by both Enable (4.5 lengths) and Highland Reel in the not so distant past, Ulysses will need everything to go his way if he is to emerge victorious on the big stage once again this weekend.
Jim Crowley gave him a superb ride when winning the Juddmonte at York last time out and another similar effort should put him there or thereabouts. Allowing Enable to control the pace of the race could prove disastrous and Crowley will be keen to get Ulysses moving in the early stages. Who knows, it could be a ‘makes all’ kind of race.
Write Home-Grown Brametot Off At Your Peril
Chantilly regular Brametot may be right up there as well. Cristian Demuro will be on board once again and connections will be hoping that familiarity with both the course and jockey helps Brametot to settle down. If the pack is bunched tightly, expect Brametot to finish very strongly indeed. A close race would certainly suit.
However, the form book suggests that this may be a step too far. Brametot was beaten by Eminent at Deauville last time out – and Eminent finished fifth behind Ulysses in the Coral Eclipse at Sandown Park back in July. Knowledge of the circuit can only get Brametot so far and he may be found wanting against superior horses.
It is difficult to see past Enable here. She will qualify for the gender allowance and this could be huge in determining the outcome. Over 1 mile and four furlongs, Gosden believes that she is the best mare that he has trained and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Dettori guide her home.
It might not be as dominant as her previous victories but a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe win would be very special indeed for her connections. Highland Reel and Order of St George went close in 2016 but ENABLE should have too much class for the rest of the field.