Sky Sports Racing presenter Martin Kelly has his lowdown on all 20 runners in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and a big-race verdict.
Jockey: W Buick, Trainer: J & T Gosden (Drawn 17)
Brilliant globetrotter for connections having landed a Saudi Cup, a Sheema Classic and a Juddmonte International.
Although winless in 2022, he was unlucky in the Coral-Eclipse behind Vadeni, but was again behind that rival and others in the Irish Champion.
No reason why he can reverse that form and conditions will be softer than ideal. Maybe a sign that connections believe he isn’t at his peak as cheekpieces are reached for, and stall 17 won’t make life easy either.
2. Torquator Tasso
L Dettori, Marcel Weiss (18)
Hasn’t quite hit the heights of 2021 – yet. The German raider caused an almighty upset in this race last year with his 72/1 defeat of Tarnawa, Hurricane Lane and Adayar, when the Somme-like conditions brought out the best in him.
He will appreciate every drop of rain that falls, and coming back right-handed off a strong pace will also eek out improvement.
His King George second reads well, and the slow pace in a small field last time did not suit. Significant that Frankie Dettori is booked – the race’s leading rider with six wins – but Torquator Tasso will have to be better than ever to match the likes of Corrida, Ribot, Treve and Enable to land dual Arcs. I’m not sure he’s in that bracket and has a wide draw in 18.
3. Mare Australis
B Murzabayev, A Fabre (19)
Represents Andre Fabre, who bids to add to his record eight Arc wins. The five-year-old looked to have the world at his feet last season with his Prix Ganay win but then went missing for 343 days.
Was only fourth in the same race in May and had Alpinista over 10 lengths ahead in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud when last seen.
He’s had 10 outings, so arguably still unexposed, but not good enough on the balance of form and drawn wide in stall 19.
M Barzalona, F H Graffard (15)
Group One winner on this card in 2020 and ran a big race for his first try over the trip when fifth in the Arc last year.
Built on that to land the Champion Stakes on his next start, but after an outing on the dirt in the Saudi Cup in February he’s failed to win this season.
Stayed on well enough for fourth on his most recent start, but doesn’t seem to be operating at the same level as last year.
Tom Marquand, W J Haggas (12)
Earned a deserved Group One in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, albeit maybe not the best renewal. Limitations seemingly exposed in the Coral-Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes.
Only ninth in this in 2021 and William Haggas now reaches for blinkers.
6. Deep Bond
Yuga Kawada, R Okubo (5)
Won last year’s Prix Foy before disappointing in the Arc and finishing last of the 14 runners.
Twice thrashed by Titleholder on home soil in Japan this year and while his trainer, Ryuji Okubo, feels he is in better condition than 12 months ago – he will need to be much improved to feature.
W M Lordan, A P O’Brien (14)
A second runner for Aidan O’Brien who benefited from a canny ride to beat Mostahdaf in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot.
Last of seven most recently in the Irish Champion and a similar fait awaits as when 11th here last year. Ground and draw also against him.
8. Stay Foolish
C P Lemaire, Y Yahagi (20)
Trained by the charismatic Yoshito Yahagi and enjoyed big days in the sun with wins in Saudi Arabia and Dubai earlier this year.
Won’t lack for stamina but may lack for class and reeled in when asserting his usual front-running tactics at Deauville last time.
However, Christophe Lemaire is back on top, as he was in Dubai and Saudi, and he could be a fun bet if he pushes forward from stall 20.
Jim Crowley, J & T Gosden (16)
Took his record to three from three on the all-weather with his September Stakes win last time out – a race his connections used to prep Enable for this in 2020.
This four-year-old isn’t in his bracket, though, and was beaten over 17 lengths on his only other try in Group One company.
Rene Piechulek, Sarah Steinberg (1)
A second German raider, who has last year’s winning rider Rene Piechulek aboard, after the pair united to beat Torquator Tasso at Baden-Baden in early September.
That was a small field and a tactical affair, and this will pose a far sterner test. Has a squeak on a line through Aplinista when second to her last November.
Kazuo Yokoyama, Toru Kurita (10)
One of four challengers for Japan, the five-year-old failed to land either the Japanese 2000 Guineas or Derby, but took his slice of Classic success with a five-length strike in the Japanese St Leger.
Has since excelled for trainer Toru Kurita with Group One wins over two miles in the Tenno Sho (seven lengths) and Takarazuka Kinen over a mile and three furlongs in a course-record time.
Deep Impact was the last horse to complete that double and he would go on to be beaten in a close third in the Arc. Titleholder has speed, stamina and class and if handling conditions could well be the first Japanese-trained Arc winner.
12. Bubble Gift
O Peslier, M Delzangles (13)
This four-year-old was second in the Prix Foy last time out, having won the Niel 12 months earlier prior to plugging on from a slow start for eighth place in the Arc itself.
Held by Alpanista and Mare Australis this summer and up against it.
13. Grand Glory
M Guyon, G Bietolini (9)
The six-year-old is better than she showed when seventh in the Vermeille and has given connections some big days.
Lost out by a whisker in the Opera on this card last year and has some very good form in other mile-and-a-quarter races for fillies. Well held in all four goes over this trip.
L Morris, Sir Mark Prescott (6)
This daughter of Frankel is bang there on the figures and would be one of stories of the race being trained by the Newmarket luminary that is Sir Mark Prescott.
The five-year-old is genuine and uncomplicated and it is hard to knock her out of the frame. She has won her last seven races, the most recent five at the top level, and has a great record on the continent.
She has the beating of last year’s winner through a German Group One encounter – however, you feel this is her stiffest task to date.
C Soumillon, J C Rouget (2)
Jean-Claude Rouget laid to rest his Arc ghost two year’s ago with Sottsass, and tries again this time with another French Derby winner.
Vadeni was stunning that day but the front-runners dominated and stall two beat stall one. The son of Churchill was arguably lucky to hang on from Mishriff in the Coral-Eclipse and failed as favourite when third to Luxembourg in the Irish Champion.
I feel he lacks a class edge of a few of these and he is very doubtful to stay the mile and a half.
16. Al Hakeem
C Demuro, J C Rouget (4)
A second runner for Jean-Claude Rouget and one who could frame at a price. Took a massive step up in grade when a rallying fourth to his stablemate in the French Derby from a wide berth, before a comfortable Group Two win last time out.
Will be tackling the trip for the first time and his stamina isn’t assured, but the Siyouni colt could get involved at price if staying. Handles soft ground well.
S Pasquier, F Chappet (11)
Interesting and lightly-raced three-year-old from the Fabrice Chappet yard. Scored in a French Derby trial before running a staying-on fifth from a very wide draw in the race itself.
Being by Frankel and out of a Sea The Stars mare, a step up to a mile and a half was always going to bring around improvement, and so it did as he took the Grand Prix de Paris – beating the subsequent Prix Niel and St Leger winners.
Was a good second to Luxembourg in the Irish Champion and while he will be suited by the return to the longer trip, watching that race back his rival was well on top at the finish.
Rob Hornby, R M Beckett (7)
This imposing son of Frankel showed a liking for soft ground as a two-year-old and made a statement on his three-year-old return when putting his huge frame to good effect in the Sandown Classic Trial.
Unlucky not to finish closer to Desert Crown in the Derby and built on that to power seven-lengths clear in the Irish equivalent.
Failed to fire in the King George, but represents the same connections as Workforce who disappointed there before winning in Paris 12 years ago.
Has been freshened for this, is well drawn in seven and has major claims as he continues to fill his frame.
19. Do Deuce
Yutaka Take, Y Tomomichi (3)
Lightly-campaigned Japanese Derby winner who also has a Group One to his name over a mile and a quarter.
Yutaka Take will have his 10th Arc mount on the son of Heart’s Cry who is reported to have needed the run when fourth in the Prix Niel.
Connections seem very positive and worth consideration, given Japan’s impact on the global racing stage over the last 12 months.
R L Moore, A P O’Brien (8)
Group-One winning juvenile whose only defeat came after a troubled run in the 2000 Guineas over an adequate mile.
Ruled out of the Derby through injury but brought back to top form this autumn to land the Irish Champion Stakes – beating several intended rivals.
Now gets the chance to blossom over the trip which his trainer has always thought he will excel, and leading chance of giving Aidan O’Brien a third Arc success.
Martin Kelly’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe verdict
A fascinating and deep renewal, where many can be given chances. At a massive price, Stay Foolish could go well for a long way reunited with Lemaire, while fellow Japanese raider Do Deuce should show up better than in the trial.
Al Hakeem has an attractive profile, for all that he is unproven at the distance, and really testing ground will bring Torquator Tasso into the mix.
Titleholder appears to have the best chance of providing Japan with a win if handling the conditions, but this is a sterner test for Alpinista.
I was taken with the size and scope of Westover at Sandown in April and he can only be a stronger and better horse at this stage of the season.
Following the Workforce route he appeals as the best each-way bet, but the one to beat is Luxembourg.
A Group One-winning juvenile who has been brought to the boil by Aidan O’Brien and the Irish Champion Stakes winner has the potential to be even better over the longer trip.
1. Luxembourg 2. Westover 3. Titleholder
Watch every race from Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend at ParisLongchamp on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October.
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