The winners and losers if Longchamp remains soft for the Arc

Frankie Dettori and Enable beating Sea Of Class in the 2018 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

The weather in Paris has been less than desirable in the last week. Longchamp’s going swiftly changed on Monday to “very soft”, with 19mm of rain in the prior twenty-four hours.

If the current forecast is to be believed, dry days on Tuesday and Wednesday will be followed by four days of showers in the French capital. That spells trouble for a number of horses, with many at the front of the market preferring a better surface.

I’ve taken a look through the Arc field at the Tuesday stage, combing through their records on softer going. With the potential going being soft for the showpiece contest, here are the winners and losers if that does come to fruition.


The Winners

Enable

The Queen of the Turf would certainly prefer Good to Soft or better, but she’s more than capable on a slower surface. Granted, many will apportion blame to the ground for her defeat twelve months ago, but she beat all bar one after going for home perhaps a shade too soon.

In the battle at the top of the market, John Gosden’s charge would certainly be the beneficiary from a soft ground contest.

Stradivarius

He likely lacks the speed/class to win the Arc, as my colleague Adrian Wall rightly suggested, but softer ground would play right into his hands. He’s ground versatile overall and has several wins on soft, including a pair at Group 1 level.

The only way he gets close in the Arc, is a soft ground contest that turns into a slog late on. The more rain, the better, in his case.

Sottsass

Last year’s French Derby winner has a record of 11342 on ground that is soft or worse. A very classy three-year-old, he’s been seen just twice in 2020, running to a good standard on both occasions.

He finished a great third in last year’s Arc behind Waldgeist, so there are no stamina or ground concerns for him. A recent third in the Irish Champion Stakes suggested he was coming back to the boil, making him a danger to all.

Persian King

His stamina isn’t proven, but Andre Fabre’s hopeful was a Group 1 winner on heavy as a three-year-old. He returned to form with a recent victory over Pinatubo over the mile, but he has it all to prove up to the twelve-furlong distance.

His pedigree suggests it’s in range and if he does see out the extra yardage, the ground shouldn’t be a barrier to success.

The Losers

Love

If we get truly testing ground on Sunday, there is cause for concern in the Love camp. All of her runs have come with descriptions of “Yielding” or better, with all of her defeats coming when “Yielding” or “Soft” has crept into the going report.

There’s no doubt she has the class to win an Arc, but if the ground is any worse than Good to Soft, there’s also no question that she won’t have her ideal scenario.

Raabihah

Jean-Claude Rouget’s fast-finisher has done all her best work on going of Good or better. Both her turf victories have come on “Good” and although she’s run well on “Good to Soft”, anything worse than that is an unknown.

She’s set to relish a strongly-run Arc and if she does handle a likely slower surface, which is plausible on her breeding, she’s a danger to all.

Serpentine

Aidan O’Brien’s Derby winner has raced just once on soft, his debut at Galway in September 2019. Being well-beaten that day gives no conclusive evidence as to whether he handles softer going, but he’s avoided it in four subsequent starts.

A recent course and distance fourth was a disappointing effort after his Derby heroics, and softer ground would add to the question marks surrounding him.


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