Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is steeped in history. It’s raced over the 1m 4f distance at Longchamp, with the Group 1 contest serving up a prize pool of £1,452,712.
It takes a special horse to win the Arc. Sea The Stars, Treve, Golden Horn and Found are all recent examples of superlative winners. Enable can rise to the top of the Arc history book, however, with victory on Sunday. If she does take victory, she’d become the first horse to win the contest on three occasions.
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Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: Enable vs History
It should have been Enable vs Love, but with Aidan O’Brien’s charge rerouted due to soft ground, Enable’s chief danger may well be history. No horse has ever won the Arc on three occasions, with just one recapturing the prize. That horse was Motrico, way back in 1932.
Plenty of star names have tried, and failed, to achieve what Enable is attempting today. The most recent attempt was Treve, who was sent off Evens favourite for the 2015 renewal, but could only manage fourth behind Golden Horn.
Age is also a factor, and just one horse has won the Arc at an age older than five. That was the aforementioned Montrico, who won the 1932 renewal as a seven-year-old. In fact, no horse has ever won the Arc as a six-year-old.
There’s no doubt about it, Enable is special, but can she really defy so much adversity? It’s hard to say a definitive no. The Queen of the Turf has defied the odds on many occasions and when all is said and done, she’s an eleven-time Group 1 winner.
She’s the only horse to have won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on three occasions. Few will forget her titanic tussle with Crystal Ocean in the 2019 renewal, where she showed her heart to fend off that determined foe.
At her best, she’s spinetingling. We were reminded of that back in July, when she glided home for her third King George in effortless fashion. Whatever happens on Sunday, come rain or shine, she’s already etched into racing royalty.
Who’s Enable’s biggest Arc danger, history aside?
With Love heading to the Breeders’ Cup, Stradivarius has taken up the mantle as second-favourite. Another superstar from John Gosden’s stable, he’s been the King of the Staying Division for a number of years. Dropping back in distance, is he really the biggest danger to Enable? My colleague, Adrian Wall, strongly disagreed with that sentiment earlier in the week and given his defeat to Anthony Van Dyck on the drop back in trip, there’s plenty of reason to have doubts.
Sottsass was third to Waldgeist twelve months ago and has run two very good races in defeat this season. His latter fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes, where he flew home in the closing stages, suggested he was better than ever. He’ll love the mud and the return to twelve furlongs, so has to be considered a big danger.
In Swoop has been backed all week long and the Germany Derby winner is another who will relish the mud. That being said, Serpentine may well be the spanner in the works. Supplemented for the fee of €72,000, O’Brien’s runaway Epsom Derby winner was far from disgraced behind Mogul on his first start since that Classic victory.
A return to front-running tactics may work the oracle and Stall 15 has a surprisingly good record in the Arc.