Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Tips: Side with the brothers

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Tips: Mogul impressed when winning the Grand Prix de Paris over the Arc course and distance last month.
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Tips: Mogul impressed when winning the Grand Prix de Paris over the Arc course and distance last month.

Nick Seddon previews Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, as Enable bids to create history by becoming the  first three-time winner of the race…

Twelve months after what was supposed to be her swan song, Enable will arrive in Paris for a second bite of the cherry, and we know that this will definitely be her final outing - regardless of the result. 

Remaining at the top level as a six-year-old is no mean feat, and Enable became the first mare of that age to win a British Group 1 contest since Black Caviar in 2012 when winning the King George at Ascot in July, becoming the first three-time winner of the race in the process. While she hasn’t quite hit the heights of seasons gone by form wise, she’s still produced some high-class performances, and like at Ascot, she will be taking her chance in a renewal of the Arc which is lacking its usual shine. 

Indeed, the defection of the classic-winning filly Love on Thursday on account of the ground has taken some gloss off the occasion, and while the forecast very soft conditions aren’t ideal as far as Enable is concerned, she ought to handle them as well as anyone else in the field - for all that she was ultimately beaten in similar conditions 12 months ago. 

On form, Enable has a favourite’s chance, but the Arc is a stern examination of a racehorse, and history is certainly against her in that no six-year-old has ever won this race. Arriving here fit after a bloodless success in last month’s Group 3 September Stakes at Kempton, she’ll be very difficult to beat if replicating the level of her King George success, but she offers next to no value as an 11/8 chance in particularly testing conditions, and looks worth opposing as a consequence. 

The deluge of rain in Paris over the past few days has persuaded plenty to side with the star stayer Stradivarius, and there’s certainly a logic to that market move, considering that fellow Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George hit the frame in this on two occasions in 2016 and 2017. 

Stradivarius is a high-class performer over staying trips, and while he’s shown he’s certainly quick enough to mix it at middle distances, finishing third in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket in June, that form is short of what you’d expect of an average Arc winner. A stern test of stamina should in theory play into his hands, though it’s worth noting that Stradivarius is at his best on fast ground, and he offers no value at around the 9/2 mark. 

Another horse who's proving popular is the French challenger Sottsass, who was third in last year's renewal. A repeat of that form would give him strong claims, but he hasn't shown the improvement from three to four that was perhaps expected of him, winning just once from four starts this term, including when fourth behind Magical in last month's Irish Champion Stakes. He'll need to take a step forward from those performances, but it's worth noting that each of those outings came over a mile and a quarter, and he could well take a step forward now returned to a mile and a half. 

An interesting component into the equation is undoubtedly the Epsom Derby winner Serpentine, who was supplemented earlier this week at a cost of €72,000. He was a scintillating all-the-way winner of the Derby back in July, blowing apart the field, and while that form hasn't worked out too well, he'd be interesting if handed similar tactics here. Indeed, Ghaiyyath was ridden with similar aggression 12 months ago, and it would be interesting to see how Frankie Dettori would handle it on Enable, bearing in mind that he arguably kicked for home a touch too soon last year.

It's more likely that Serpentine will be ridden similarly to how he was when fourth in last month's Grand Prix de Paris, when asked to sit prominently, and while he was unable to power clear on that occasion, it was a likeable enough performance after a 71-day break. He's entitled to improve for that here on his try against his elders, and he will almost certainly play a part in the outcome - regardless of whether or not he's involved in the finish. 

Finishing in-front of Serpentine in the Grand Prix de Paris were stablemate Mogul (first) and the German Derby winner In Swoop (second). Curiously, it is the runner-up who is a shorter price for the Arc, and he certainly caught the eye when staying on from an unpromising position last time. He's interesting with the strong prospect of more improvement to come yet on just his fifth outing, and he has form in soft going to boot, though even in receipt of weight he would need to take a substantial step forward to trouble Enable for win purposes. 

Instead, it is Mogul who makes plenty of appeal each-way. Punters are entitled to feel rather lukewarm about Mogul, bearing in mind that he's failed to justify favouritism on a couple of occasions this term. He has shown some smart form in the right environment, though, including over course and distance earlier this month, and there's a feeling that he still has some untapped potential when you bear in mind his top-class pedigree. This environment up against his elders for the first time will give him the opportunity to take his form to the next level, and while he's unproven in testing conditions, a test of stamina could certainly suit. He tends to make his move towards the end of his races, and provided there's a strong pace for him to aim at - which could well come from one of his stablemates - Mogul has to be considered as a lively each-way danger.

Two more French challengers are Persian King and Raabihah. The former defeated a high-class field when winning the Prix du Moulin over a mile here last month, form which would certainly put him right into the mix if he can translate that to this trip. However, he looks a seriously doubtful to stay judged on his style of racing, particularly in heavy conditions, and he makes no appeal for all that he represents an eight-time Arc winner in Andre Fabre. 

The three-year-old filly Raabihah is more interesting, having finished second in the Prix Vermeille over this course and distance last month. She's open to significant improvement after just five starts in total - and one over this distance - and while she represents a vastly experienced trainer in Jean-Claude Rouget, she will need a clear career best if she is to come out on top. 

Bearing in mind the tricky conditions, it also looks worth giving a final chance to Mogul's full brother Japan each-way. Admittedly, he’s disappointed in no uncertain terms this year, though he’s shown some glimmer of his old self on occasion, finishing a head behind Enable in the Coral-Eclipse in July. He was well beaten in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out, though he shaped well in for a long way in a race that was far too much of a test of speed, and it certainly isn’t inconceivable to think that he’s been trained with this in mind.

He has two strong efforts at Longchamp under his belt, winning last year's Grand Prix de Paris and producing an excellent effort to finish fourth in similar conditions in this race 12 months ago, and there’s a lingering feeling that there’s a performance of that level in him when everything falls into place. Stablemate Sovereign should ensure that there is something for him to aim at pace wise, and in conditions which are likely to cause havoc in-running, he offers some value at anything around the 14/1 mark or higher to run into a place late on. 

Selections

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp, Sunday 4th October - back Mogul each-way at 12/1

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp, Sunday 4th October - back Japan each-way at 14/1

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