Wonder filly Enable will line up against 11 other horses as she looks to claim her 3rd successive Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, France on Sunday (15:05).
Some of Horse Racing’s most famous names have won this race – amongst this prestigious roll of honour stands Mill Reef (1971), Alleged (1977 & 1978), Dancing Brave (1986), Lammtarra (1995) and more recently Treve (2013 & 2014). But whilst winning the race twice has been done on several occasion, no horse has ever won the race a third time.
Enable won the Arc in 2018 & 2019 – although last years victory was a close encounter, as she just held off the charging Sea of Class at the line (above). But she has been in superlative form and comes into the race as warm favourite to rewrite the history books.
But, the stall draw has thrown a pebble into an otherwise serene pond. Enable has been drawn in stall 9 – and only one horse has won the Arc in 55 renewals of the race from that draw – that being in 1993 when Urban Sea claimed the race on very heavy going.
The draw is of some significance for the Arc. The race is run over 2400 metres (approx 1.5 miles) and the Longchamp track is right handed, with, after a long straight from the break, a long, sweeping right hand bend before the pack straighten up and race for home. In the last ten renewals, it has been horses drawn on the inside – from stalls 8 or lower – that have won the race 7 times – with the outer horses having to expend early speed and energy to fight for a good position and, more often than not, finding trouble in doing so that can put paid to their chances.
That said, the 12 strong field will be of help to Enable from stall 9. This is the smallest field for a running of the Arc in well over a decade – with numbers more usually at around 18-20 runners. Less horses mean more space and less churn in running – so if anyone can overturn the disadvantage of a bad draw, historically speaking, in an Arc – it will be Enable.
Of her competitors, her old adversary Magical will line up again, and be joined by Ballydoyle stablemate Japan. These two, along with French Derby winner Sottsass and French counterpart Waldgeist are expected to be the main threats, with a nod in the direction also of Ghaiyyath, But all – certainly according to UK bookmakers – are expected to be little more than a supporting cast to Enable.
Once again, she will be partnered by legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, who will be going for his own record extending 7th win in the race, and 4th in the last five years. But despite his amazing success as a jockey and enormous experience, Dettori says he still gets nervous : “I am so nervous about the day itself. If I had to pick one horse to worry about it would be Japan. He’s got low mileage, he’s an improving horse and is a good three-year-old. He is my biggest danger.”
In a year which has already seen many unforgettable moments in Horse Racing, an historic 3rd Arc win for this magnificent filly would be a fitting end to what has been a stunning season.
2019 PRIX de L’ARC de TRIOMPHE – FULL RUNNERS AND RIDERS (IN STALL ORDER)
- SOTTSASS – Cristian Demuro
- FIEREMENT – Christophe Demaire
- WALDGEIST – Pierre Boudot
- BLAST ONEPIECE – Yuga Kawada
- FRENCH KING – Olivier Peslier
- SOFT LIGHT – Yutaka Take
- KISEKI – Christophe Soumillon
- MAGICAL – Donnacha O’Brien
- ENABLE – Frankie Dettori
- JAPAN – Ryan Moore
- NAGANO GOLD – Mickael Barzalona
- GHAIYYATH – William Buick