World came out earlier today that after his win in the G1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes today at Sandown, Al Kazeem and G1 Prix Du Jockey Club winner, Intello, have been made 6-1 ante-post co-favorites for the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October. IMO, 6-1 looks a big price for both of these horses given their current level of form. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is a Group 1 race run over a mile and a half, open to horses aged three and older, and usually takes place on the first Sunday in October. Often referred to as the ‘Arc’, it is one of the most prestigious Flat races in Europe. The Arc meeting grows in stature each.
Timeform give the lowdown on the Arc, looking at recent winners and race trends, the 2019 runners, and where to find form and tips for Sunday's race.
France’s most famous race, Longchamp’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – often known simply as ‘the Arc’ – is run over 2400m (roughly 1 ½ miles) at the start of every October. Though regarded as second only to the Derby at Epsom in terms of prestige, it usually involves a higher-quality field, featuring the best female horses – which though eligible for the Derby usually run in its equivalent fillies’ race, the Oaks – and the best older horses, the Derby being open only to three-year-olds (geldings aren’t permitted in either). As such, it effectively decides Europe’s champion middle-distance horse, and with a €5 million purse it is Europe's richest race.
Will Enable win the Arc?
In almost one hundred renewals, the first being run in 1920, eight horses have won the Arc twice. However, on Sunday 6th October, John Gosden’s superstar mare Enable, partnered by jockey Frankie Dettori, will bid to make history and become the first three-time winner. Priced at around 4/6, it’s the bookmakers’ opinion at least that the race is Enable’s to lose. And with 12 wins on the bounce over the last three seasons, including an awesome ten Group 1s, it’s easy to see why. However, she wouldn’t be the first mare – even within this decade – to attempt the treble at odds-on and lose, the French-trained Treve doing just that when fourth in 2015. The winner? Derby hero Golden Horn, trained by one John Gosden.
The best news on a Monday - Enable will be back in 2019! Here's to Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe bid number three.. pic.twitter.com/N5cHsnP3fh— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) November 19, 2018
At those odds, though, it’s tempting to look elsewhere for betting value. Let’s start with the full list of declarations for the 2019 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, featuring 12 horses trained in five different countries.
2019 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Entries
- FrenchKing – four-year-old colt. Trainer: Henri-Alex Pantall, France
- Waldgeist – five-year-old horse. Trainer: Andre Fabre, France
- Ghaiyyath – four-year-old colt. Trainer: Charlie Appleby, UK
- Kiseki – five-year-old horse. Trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii, Japan
- Blast Onepiece – four-year-old colt. Trainer: Masahiro Otake, Japan
- Fierement – four-year-old colt. Trainer: Takahisa Tezuka, Japan
- NaganoGold – five-year-old horse. Trainer: V. Luka Jnr, Czech Republic
- Enable – five-year-old mare. Trainer: John Gosden, UK
- Magical – four-year-old filly. Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Ireland
- Japan – three-year-old colt. Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Ireland
- Soft Light – three-year-old colt. Trainer: Jean-Claude Rouget, France
- Sottsass – three-year-old colt. Trainer: Jean-Claude Rouget, France
View the Timeform Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe racecard
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe odds
According to the markets, the chief danger to Enable’s hat-trick is Japan, who was labelled “the best middle-distance 3-y-o around” by Timeform after his Juddmonte International Stakes victory over Crystal Ocean at York – the latter seen as one of Enable’s most serious challengers prior to his retirement due to injury. Currently second-favourite at around 5/1, Japan is seemingly Aidan O’Brien’s first string. O'Brien also runs Magical, who has finished runner-up to Enable three times and sits fifth in the betting at around 10/1. The trainer had initially planned also to send Derby winner Anthony Van Dyke, but with the going deemed to soft he will instead head straight to the Breeders’ Cup in November.
Having had runners hit the frame in the past two renewals, Godolphin will bid to take the honours for the first time since 2002 with the Charlie Appleby-trained Ghaiyyath, last seen bolting up to win by 14 lengths in a German Group 1. He earned a rating of 130 (1lb higher than Enable, without taking into account the mare’s 3lb weight allowance), and the performance was backed up by his Timefigure, as well as historical standards for the race – more than justifying his current 10/1 price-tag.
Stunning victory for Ghaiyaath storming home in the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden 🇩🇪🏇🏼💨 #teamgodolphinpic.twitter.com/hlbPzg741t— Godolphin (@godolphin) September 1, 2019
Who are the best French-trained horses?
If you’re thinking it might be wise to side with the home team, there are at least two French runners worthy of serious consideration.
Waldgeist, a 12/1 shot, won over course and distance in a Group 2 on September 15th, and holds solid claims, despite being beaten by Enable in July. The comment for his Prix Foy win reads: “beaten less than 2 lengths behind Enable when fourth in last year's Arc after not getting all the breaks, he's at least as good as ever this season and he seems bound to give another good account in 3 weeks' time”. It’s also worth mentioning his trainer Andre Fabre’s record seven wins in the Arc.
Finally, one of the most intriguing horses at the top of the betting is Sottsass, who on the same day, also won over course and distance in the Prix Niel, quickening impressively in the final furlong to emerge victorious after long being hemmed in against the rail. Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, he’s currently third-favourite at around 6/1.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weights
As a Group 1, the Arc is run off ‘level weights’. Despite the phrase used, these races are subject to weight-for-age and weight-for-sex penalties in order to achieve balance and fairness. The weighting system has been the subject of much discussion, and with the weights allocated as follows, it seems evident that three-year-old fillies in particular are somewhat at an advantage in the race:
- 4-y-o+ male horses: 9st 5lb
- 4-y-o+ female horses: 9st 2lb
- 3-y-o male horses: 8st 13lb
- 3-y-o female horses: 8st 9lb
As Simon Rowlands pointed out in his 2018 Arc Day Fact File, “The idea that three-year-old fillies do well in the Arc is no old-wives’ tale skewed by a few favourable results. The winners Zarkava (2008), Danedream (2011), Treve (2013) and Enable (2017) have been supported by others in that category who lost but performed well”. That point was well illustrated by the late Sea of Class producing a storming run from second-last in a field of 19 to be denied by a short neck from Enable.
It's all the more unfortunate then that we won’t get to see a three-year-old filly compete in the Arc this year, the last remaining entry, Mehdaayih, having been withdrawn at the five-day stage. That may be put down to a lack of quality – “there isn't an Enable among this year's 3-y-o middle-distance fillies” states the race comment for Star Catcher’s last run, herself an entry up to the seven-day stage – though it may be perceived by some as a sensible exercise in risk-aversion. After all, Mehdaayih, Star Catcher and Oaks winner Anapurna are not only three of the brightest talents among their generation’s females, but also represent the same stable as the odds-on favourite. Either way, they would have needed a lot more than a generous 7lb weight allowance to bridge the gap between themselves and Enable.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Race Cards
For Arc day at Longchamp Timeform will provide a full race card. For premium users, that includes Timeform ratings for every horse, Flags, plus recent results for all runners.
Not a Timeform premium user? Click the banner below to sign up and get £10 of free credit – more than enough to get the £5 Longchamp Race Card for the day – or enough for a one-day Race Pass, which gives you access to all meetings for 24 hours. So buy it early Saturday afternoon and you’ll get access to all Saturday’s UK and Irish cards too! Want a longer look? Access all our premium form for seven days for just £20 (£10 with your sign-up discount), with our Race Passes autumn special offer.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Tips
For those who prefer to side with the professionals: once you’ve got your free credit, you could always get on board with our premium tips. With selections chosen by the Timeform Jury – a small group of our elite handicappers and race reporters – TV Focus is available for all ITV-broadcast meetings, which this year will include a selection of races from Longchamp on Sunday 6th October.
Want more angles, or more expert analysis before you bet? Check out our Features page to find our latest free Arc Preview in the run-up to the big race, and get our man’s best bet.
Don’t forget, the Arc is a huge event in the racing calendar, and with Enable going for her third win it’s likely some bookmakers will be giving out special offers on the race. So check out our Betting Offers page for free Arc bets before you put your money down, and make your stake go further.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe past winners
Who won the Arc and how good was their performance? See the key information from the past ten runnings of the great race, below.