Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe Tips – Fabre’s star can expose weakness in Enable’s armour
Brian Healy gives his big race selection for Sunday’s feature race at Longchamp, the 2018 Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe.
This Sunday sees the highlight of late-season flat racing with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp taking place on a quality day’s action at the French venue.
Always a high-class affair, this year’s renewal looks particularly classy with some of the best middle distance horses coming together from around the globe to contest the 1m 4f showpiece.
Europe’s richest horse race gets underway at 3.05pm and a cracking renewal awaits punters anxious to see if superstar filly and defending champion Enable can successfully defend her crown.
The four-year old carried all before her last term after being beaten on her seasonal debut at Newbury behind Shutter Speed. The Nathaniel filly went on to record six straight wins,which included five Group Ones – this race amongst them – but an injury has restricted her to just one appearance this term.
Nevertheless, it was a winning one as she readily saw off the high-class Crystal Ocean in her prep run at Kempton to win the September Stakes, and that outing should have her cherry ripe for this title defence.
While her win last term came at Chantilly – a wholly different style of track to Longchamp – she has shown her versatility over a range of tracks, and this layout isn’t expected to present a problem.
Assuming Frankie Dettori can get her into a good position turning into the straight then she could be hard to beat if building on her reappearance.
There is a slight chance that she may still be a shade rusty after her layoff, and despite her win she may not be fully at her peak; if that is the case then it could pay to take a punt on WALDGEIST to give trainer Andre Fabre another Arc success.
The Galileo colt has improved markedly as a four-year old having perhaps looked to have his limitations last campaign; but he has developed into a top-class performer with wins in his last four starts which include the Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud two starts ago, beating Coronet.
Latterly he has won the Prix Foy here last month, beating Talismanic by a shade over two lengths, and the progressive four-year old could have considerably more improvement to come.
He had a couple of these behind when posting that impressive win, and versatile with regards to ground conditions he won’t be inconvenienced by the underfoot surface. While he does have to find a jolt of improvement to dethrone the imperious Enable, it is hard to imagine him not running a big race and he could prove the value alternative to John Gosden’s charge.
The progressive Sea Of Class has been supplemented for this contest, and William Haggas’ charge has been thoroughly impressive this campaign, winning four on the spin which includes back-to-back Group Ones at the Curragh and York.
The Sea The Stars filly has had only five career starts, and while she has undoubtedly shown herself to be a top-class performer, this is her toughest task to date on ground that may not be quick enough for her to be seen at her best.
Kew Gardens spearheads the Aidan O’Brien challenge for this contest, and the Galileo colt ought to give a good account having won three of his last four starts which includes success over course and distance when winning the Grand Prix de Paris from Neufbosc.
Not at his best next time when beaten behind the game Old Persian at York, he subsequently saw off Lah Ti Dar at Doncaster on his last outing to win the St Leger, and he could prove a tough nut to crack if turning up in similar form.
Beyond this quartet, the rest can be backed at 25/1 and upwards, suggesting that this year’s renewal lies between the four. Assuming Enable is back to her brilliant best following her return to action, she ought to take plenty of beating in this contest although Waldgeist can give her something to think about and the Andre Fabre-trained colt is taken to expose any chinks in the defending champion’s armour.