Saturday, October 3, 2020

Arc de Triomphe - History beckons for Enable

It seems the racing gods are with Enable. The heavy rains got rid of Love, the one many thought would scupper her aim for a 3rd Arc. Then, the race suffered the defections of the rest of the Ballydoyle contingent because of a feed problem! No Serpentine, Mogul, Japan or Sovereign to deal with. So what is left in the field that can potentially derail the Queen of the turf?

For that you need to find a true mud lark that will relish the heavy going of ParisLongchamp on Sunday. I cannot find any in the field. Sure, there are a few that have won on soft ground but beating Enable would require a specialist of heaving conditions. Persian King? Does not have the distance and will absolutely hate the ground. Royal Julius, Way to Paris, Gold Trip, Chachnak? Not good enough at this level. Deidre? Will not love the conditions and seems past her peak. Raabihah? Unproven on the ground and was not quite good enough to beat a respectable but no superstar Tarnawa.

This leaves In Swoop, Sottsass and Stradivarius as viable challengers. In Swoop is the German Derby winner who seems to love softish conditions. He was second to Mogul in the Grand Prix de Paris and being a 3-year old, will get some weight allowance in relation to the older generation. It's not certain he can be a force at this level but he has claims for a Top 4 finish.

Sottsass has disappointed me this year. He has won only one of this four races and his win was also not the most convincing. He finished around a length from Enable in last year's Arc and if he can reproduce that form, he can be a major force at the finish. He hit the line well in his last race against the likes of Ghaiyyath and Magical, suggesting maybe that he was coming to peak. He will need it if he is to beat Enable.

Stradivarius has been a splendid out and out stayer all this life and has shown stunning speed at a mile and a half in his career redirection. With some luck, he can certainly win at the distance at the highest level. The son of Sea the Stars is all heart and it seems the heavy going will play to his strength as he is the one with the least stamina concern. I expect him to fly at the finish as many in the field struggle to arrive home. He has won on soft going before so he should handle the conditions better than most.

Enable isn't as good a racehorse as last year according to John Gosden. It's understandable that she is past her zenith of her 5-year old season. But she has still proven an awesome force in her last couple of races and shown enough to suggest that she is near enough her best to win a top race like this. Her tactical speed means that she will be well placed throughout to produce a final flourish. She was beaten tactically in the straight last year and provided Frankie Dettori is not caught unawares again, he is still the best jockey to be on board. The heart hopes she wins, the mind thinks she will win in front of stable-mate Stradivarius.

Win: Enable

Place: Stradivarius, Sottsass

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