As the 2019 flat season enters it’s final stages, the autumn treat that is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes centre stage in Paris on Sunday. Enable bids to make history, as she aims to become the first horse ever to win three Arcs. Her career is already storied enough to guarantee her reputation into the future, but immortality awaits if she can pull off a farewell victory at Longchamp.
Of the 7 previous duel winners of the race, 6 retired before attempting the hat-trick. The exception was Treve in 2015, who after looking at her best all year was overturned by the brilliant Golden Horn in the October showpiece. Enable is better than Treve, but she will have to be at her best here to see off a small but select group of rivals.
It seems absurd to dismiss a horse like Magical as not being good enough to win this. She has developed into a world class filly, and her most recent win in the Irish champions stakes was one of the best performances of the year. However, she has tried and failed four times against Enable, and her latest defeat in the Yorkshire Oaks was impossible to dispute. She is excellent but Enable is better.
Another top class horse who has finished behind Enable on multiple occasions. He finished fourth in last years Arc when perhaps a little bit unlucky in running. This season he has been pitching at the very highest level, with valiant defeats in the Prince of Wales and King George vi on his resume. When he gets his optimum conditions he can be a match for almost anyone, but there is little to suggest he can reverse the form with Enable. Place claims.
Unquestionably the best of the Ballydoyle three year olds. His preparation for the Epsom derby was less than ideal but he defied that to finish fourth in a bunch finish. Since then he has recorded impressive victories at Royal Ascot and at course and distance in the Grand Prix de Paris. His win in the Juddmonte International, when defeating Crystal Ocean is a stand-out piece of form, and there is likely still improvement in the son of Galileo. If Ryan Moore can manoeuvre him into position for a late challenge, his breeding suggests that he can go close.
The Rouget trained colt has had the perfect Arc preparation. An impressive winner of the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby), his only run since was in the Prix Neil, when winning after traffic problems in running. If the race comes down to a sprint finish, the French colt has the acceleration to pull off a surprise win for the home team. Question marks remain over his form though and others are preferred.
Enable was a little fortunate in the Arc last year, when tiring, she did just enough to beat the fast closing Sea of Class. That fright may have been down to a less than ideal preparation, whereas this year her build up seems to have gone to plan . Trainer John Gosden has suggested that the thoroughbred is at its zenith as a five year old , and there is little doubt that Enable is better than ever this year. In the absence of a world class three year old filly, it’s taken that she can make history and become the first horse ever to win three Arcs. Japan is the only runner with enough potential improvement in him to give Enable a race, and is preferred over the rest.