Saturday, October 1, 2016

Arc de Triomphe 2016 - Postponed to the test

This year's Arc looks wide open with a few that have legitimate aspirations to win and the fact that Chantilly will be the temporary venue to the world's greatest race, only adds to the intrigue. I will pick 4 names from the 16-runner race, the quartet from which I believe the winner will emerge. Postponed, Found, Makahiki and Harzand.

Postponed is the deserved favourite going into the race; the son of Dubawi is unbeaten in 4 races this year and has proven himself the world's best middle-distance performer. This 5-year old is clearly flourishing with age and has been showing consistent top-class form over the past couple of years that makes him a difficult one to oppose in any race. There are not many chinks in his armor and it's pretty much a guarantee that he will be in the thereabouts at the finish. I cannot see him out of the first 4.

It is a staggering fact that Found has been runner-up in 9 Group 1 races. Much was expected of the daughter of Galileo this year after she had blown away Golden Horn in last year's Breeders' Cup. While she has only won one race out of her seven races this year, she has mostly been in the thereabouts to finish runner-up in most of them. Her not being good enough, or just being an unlucky second is a matter of interpretation, but what is beyond doubt is that she is of the top drawer and can land this race. It could very well be that she is an autumn filly; after all she was third in this race last year before brilliantly lowering Golden Horn's colours in the US. A big player in my books.

Is Makahiki the one to break Japan's curse in the Arc? Will he be the one redeeming his illustrious sire's defeat ten years ago to this day? Japan's best have always fallen short in dramatic circumstances at Longchamp and the roof will come down if Makahiki can end years of Nippon hurt. He seemed to win the Prix Niel in hand but I would have been more convinced if he had won more with more to spare; in other words, I wasn't as impressed as others were. I can't see him at the level of his sire or Orfevre but if he produces a career best and no-one else is showing on the day, maybe he is the blessed one from the land of the rising sun.

Harzand is the subject of ultra-confident whispers from the Dermot Weld camp and that is enough to decipher that the Derby winner will be at the peak of his powers on Sunday. He came out injured in his last race at ten furlongs but this will ideally suit him. A 3-year old, he will benefit from a non-negligible 3 pound allowance. He is a serious grinder and I see him punching his way through the field in the last 200 yards as the others run out of stamina. 

As mentioned, I believe the winner will come from the above. Unless some kind of Solemia strikes again. A top performance from Postponed will make him difficult to beat. On form, he should prevail and another plus is that he is drawn best of the four. Makahiki has the class to cause an upset should things fall rightly into place for him and it is by no means a stretch to think that the son of Deep Impact will finally deliver to the Japanese their Holy Grail.

Win: Postponed
Win (value): Makahiki

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