The 2018 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: runner-by-runner guide

By Tom Peacock@tompeacock
Thu 4 Oct 2018

Tom Peacock sifts through all 19 contenders for Sunday's spectacular at ParisLongchamp and, below, watch video analysis from The Betting Lab.

After the jubilant scenes on Le Golf National last weekend, the sporting spotlight remains firmly trained on the French capital as its premier horserace returns to the recently renovated and rebranded ParisLongchamp.

Whilst the venerable stands have largely been replaced by modern architecture, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe remains the grandest of Turf prizes. And unless Japanese runner Clincher gets his act together, more European glory is guaranteed.

DEFOE:

Trainer: Roger Varian

Jockey: Andrea Atzeni

Odds: 50-1

Group One wins: None

Watch analysis of the 146th Longines Grosser Preis Von Baden from The Verdict

This son of Arc winner Dalakhani was back to his previously progressive form of last season in the wet spring, capped by victory in the Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket in May.

His dislike for fast ground was illustrated by defeat in the Tattersalls Gold Cup behind Lancaster Bomber in May and he was kept at home during the summer.

There is not a lot wrong with his comeback second in the Grosser Preis Von Baden, when surrendering ground on the home turn to finish a neck behind Godolphin's Best Solution, but looks unlikely to get the testing conditions he needs.

SALOUEN:

Trainer: Sylvester Kirk

Jockey: Oisin Murphy

Odds: 100-1

Group One wins: None

Seems capable of ssecuring a place without winning at whatever level he sets his sights at, going particularly close behind Cracksman under a masterful Silvestre De Sousa ride in the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June and ran bravely against Waldgeist at Saint-Cloud in the summer.

Has not gone forward in two subsequent efforts.

Snaffling a minor place, if not out of the question, is the best he can hope for.

CAPRI:

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Donnacha O'Brien

Odds: 25-1

Group One wins: Irish Derby, St Leger

A missing man for much of this season but as interesting as any of those at a big price.

Won what now looks an outstanding contest in last year’s St Leger and best forgiven beating only one home when reappearing just a fortnight later in the Arc.

Fifth spot behind Waldgeist on a belated comeback in the Prix Foy does not make encouraging reading on paper, but he hit a flat spot and rallied at the end. Capable of much better and is a big price for his achievements.

WAY TO PARIS:

Trainer: Antonio Marcialis

Jockey: Gerald Mosse

Odds: 150-1

Group One wins: None

Exactly 30 years since the last Italian-trained Arc winner, Tony Bin, and this would be considerably more of a surprise.

Deserving of a place in the line-up, given he has not been far behind Waldgeist on three occasions this year, most recently in the Prix Foy, but has never looked likely to overhaul that rival and there is no immediately forthcoming reason why that should change here.

WALDGEIST:

Trainer: Andre Fabre

Jockey: Pierre-Charles Boudot

Odds: 7-1

Group One wins: Criterium de Saint-Cloud, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud

Watch video analysis of the Prix Foy from The Verdict

No trainer knows what an Arc horse looks like better than Andre Fabre and this son of Galileo appears to have been campaigned as one all season.

Not impressive in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud when he edged out Coronet, the four-year-old was far more convincing when winning the Prix Foy last month and must be greatly respected.

Whilst the ground is unlikely to be allowed to become lightning fast, it must be a concern whether he is effective on quicker conditions.

CLOTH OF STARS:

Trainer: Andre Fabre

Jockey: Vincent Cheminaud

Odds: 50-1

Group One wins: Prix Ganay

Ran a blinder last year to stay on through the field for second behind Enable, but had a much stronger back catalogue of efforts to show than he does this year. Encouragement could be taken from his third behind Waldgeist in the Foy and will have been brought on to peak here but still looks short of what is required.

TALISMANIC:

Trainer: Andre Fabre

Jockey: Mickael Barzalona

Odds: 40-1

Group One wins: Breeders’ Cup Turf

 International globe-trotter Talismanic (Dubai Racing Club)
International globe-trotter Talismanic (Dubai Racing Club)

Popular performer, not only for his distinctive white markings but for a string of genuine efforts.

Fabre had no complaints with a runner-up placing behind Waldgeist in the Foy but issued some concern about the mile and a half now being a little beyond his capabilities.

Likes to hear his feet rattle, but this is a tougher test than when he won at the Breeders’ Cup.

TIBERIAN:

Trainer: Alain Couetil

Jockey: William Buick

Odds: 150-1

Group One wins: None

A fine servant to connections over time, who was a respectable seventh in the Melbourne Cup this time last year.

Unfortunately he is without a win in a year now and a tame fifth in the Grand Prix de Deauville was not a glowing recommendation for his prospects in such company.

CLINCHER:

Trainer: Hiroshi Miyamoto

Jockey: Yutaka Take

Odds: 66-1

Group One wins: None

Japanese runners in the Arc always merit respect but not many have arrived with less fanfare in recent years.

A fine third in the Tenno Sho over two miles and has some reasonable middle-distance form, too.

Although his trainer admitted prior to the Prix Foy that he would expect improvement on his next outing, there needs to be an awful lot as he was beaten eight lengths.

ENABLE:

Trainer: John Gosden

Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Odds: 11-10

Group One wins: Oaks, Irish Oaks, King George, Yorkshire Oaks, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Watch analysis of Enable's return from The Verdict

There was not a more welcome sight all year than seeing this fabulous filly skip to a ready defeat of the high-class Crystal Ocean in the September Stakes at Kempton last month.

A fine winner of the race last year and she ought to strip even fitter after looking as if she had developed into an even more robust specimen on her first run since last October.

Earlier issues with her knees will continue to be a worry but if Gosden has her on the starting line, she will take all the beating.

NEUFBOSC:

Trainer: Pia Brandt

Jockey: Christian Demuro

Odds: 50-1

Group One wins: None

Lightly-raced colt who was worn down by Kew Gardens in the Grand Prix de Paris before being put away for the summer. Looked rather rusty under restrained tactics when third in the Prix Niel. Has a lot to prove on form, but represents a shrewd trainer who would not allow him to take part unless she felt he could be competitive.

Not an obvious winner, but not one to underestimate.

PATASCOY:

Trainer: Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte

Jockey: Patascoy

Odds: 66-1

Group One wins: None

Appeared from out of the provincial tracks to run a blinder in the French Derby, finishing second behind Study Of Man from a wide draw. Unfortunately, that has not looked much of a race and although his comeback in a tactical race behind Knight To Behold at Deauville was perfectly OK, he just does not look good enough.

KEW GARDENS:

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Ryan Moore

Odds: 12-1

Group One wins: Grand Prix de Paris, St Leger

 Aidan O'Brien's St Leger winners have not done well in the Arc  (FocusOnRacing)
Aidan O'Brien's St Leger winners have not done well in the Arc (FocusOnRacing)

Had begun to look one to avoid in the Derby trials only to summon a dramatic turnaround, barely looking back since his towering win in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. The change in tactics from a prominent role, to one being held-up seems to have made all the difference.

Produced an admirable victory in the St Leger and very much deserving of a chance at this level.

Main worry is that following up here after the demands of Doncaster has been beyond other Ballydoyle runners such as Leading Light, Scorpion and Capri and he is not an obviously different specimen.

STUDY OF MAN:

Trainer: Pascal Bary

Jockey: Stephane Pasquier

Odds: 33-1

Group One wins: Prix du Jockey Club

Showed a willing attitude in winning the French Derby but has not been smooth sailing since then, suffering fairly heavy defeats in both his Deauville comeback and in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Untried beyond a mile and a quarter and pedigree does not exactly scream that he wants the trip either, so fairly quickly passed by.

LOUIS D’OR:

Trainer: Tony Castanheira

Jockey: Antoine Hamelin

Odds: 200-1

Group One wins: None

One win at conditions level in 13 starts probably sums up the prospects of this fellow.

A career-best when outrunning huge odds to be third in the French Derby but has not built on that when his sights have been lowered and seemed not to stay when tried at this trip last time in the Prix Niel.

HUNTING HORN:

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Seamie O'Brien

Odds: 66-1

Group One wins: None

Made a valuable contribution to the O’Brien yard this year, not only winning the Hampton Court Stakes in fine fashion but taking third in the Belmont Derby and struggling to overcome a wide draw in the Secretariat Stakes.

Defeat to Brundtland in the Prix Niel, though, is not Arc-winning form and surely only included as back-up to Kew Gardens.

NELSON:

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Michael Hussey

Odds: 200-1

Group One wins: None

Been on pacemaking duties for Ballydoyle for most of the year and that is the only feasible reason for his inclusion in the field.

MAGICAL:

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Wayne Lordan

Odds: 50-1

Group One wins: None

 Magical is a daughter of dual Derby winner Galileo but has yet to run over 12 furlongs

Might well have got closer to Laurens in the Matron Stakes, but for meeting interference and looks to have been primed to pick up a big prize before the year is out.

However, managing that in such a distinguished line-up would be a lot to ask and although full-sister Rhododendron stayed a mile and a half, she has barely set foot beyond eight furlongs yet.

SEA OF CLASS

Trainer: William Haggas

Jockey: James Doyle

Odds: 7-2

Group One wins: Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks

Missed the Oaks at Epsom but certainly made up for lost time and has really gelled with the confident riding of James Doyle.

Bred for the challenge and even his often cautious trainer has warmed to the idea of Paris.

Will not mind the dry spell and although this is a very different assignment to what she has experienced before, she ought to be ready for it.

RACINGUK.COM VERDICT:

 Capri could be seriously underestimated given the strength of his St Leger win last season (Doncaster)
Capri could be seriously underestimated given the strength of his St Leger win last season (Doncaster)

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is a race which never lets you down and once again, this will be an event to savour.

Heart and head are aligned in expecting more fireworks from ENABLE, who could not have allayed any queries about her wellbeing in any more resounding fashion at Kempton last month.

It would be wonderful to see her follow in Treve’s example and claim back-to-back wins.

However, she is just a touch over even-money and that is too short for a personal investment ahead of raceday in the context that John Gosden already has revealed misgivings about the Longchamp surface and the filly having had only one run after a severe layoff.

Sea Of Class might just be an Enable in waiting and it is impossible to overlook her chances after such an impressive campaign. Nonetheless, from a betting point-of-view, the temptation is to find something at big prices to shake them up.

So, as much as this column would not put anyone off if they like the chances of either of the two champion fillies, the main suggestion against the field is CAPRI, who has not yet had the chance to demonstrate his quality in 2018 and will be much better off for his trial run. He could also be ably assisted by the running of several stable companions.

It is hard to pass over a small saver on unknown quantity NEUFBOSC, who might also have been hiding his light under a bushel.

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