We’re past the halfway point of this exciting flat racing season, with the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the Derby all a thing of the past, and we’re now approaching the point of the season where fans of the sport are beginning to talk about the end of season highlights — like the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The Longchamp-based contest, which is one of the most prestigious races in the world, is due to take place in Paris on October 2nd and horses will flock to the French capital from all four corners of the globe in a bid to land the one-mile, four-furlong outing’s mammoth prize purse — which at €5,000,000, and constantly growing, makes it the richest flat race in Europe.
There will be plenty of British- and Irish-trained vying for favouritism in the ante-post market on this sports betting site. So, with that in mind, read on as we take a look at four horses who make the trip across the English Channel or the Celtic Sea in a bid to land a historic victory the Arc — a feat no horse from these isles has achieved since the great Enable won the race back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.
Where better to start than Desert Crown. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained horse was the short-price favourite ahead of the Derby, and while he drifted out a bit on the day of the race, he proved why he was a worthy market leader for the iconic race — showing sheer speed to pull away and win by two-and-a-half lengths clear of Hoo Ya Mal.
Those who said he was too inexperienced were left with egg on their face, and should he carry on winning ways for the rest of the summer — with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot potentially his next destination — the three-year-old could head to Longchamp with a great chance of winning the Arc.
A lot was expected of Aidan O’Brien’s Tuesday in her three-year-old season this year, and she got off to a flying start by winning a Fillies Maiden at Naas in March. But she left a lot to be desired in the English and Irish renewals of the 1,000 Guineas, finishing third at Newmarket and second at the Curragh — over five lengths adrift of Homeless Songs.
That’s why it was somewhat of a surprise when Tuesday got her head over the line ahead of John & Thady Gosden’s highly-rated Emily Upjohn in the Oaks at Epsom earlier this month. The short-price favourite did get off to a terrible start though, so it might take another run or two for Tuesday to convince everyone she’s ready for the Arc.
Another horse from O’Brien’s esteemed Ballydoyle stables that was tipped to set the world alight this season, Luxembourg suffered an injury following his third-place finish in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket at the end of April and hasn’t been seen since.
The Irish handler has now confirmed that the three-year-old is back in light training now though, and if he can get the one-time Epsom Derby favourite firing on all cylinders later in the summer and in the early autumn, Luxembourg’s current odds for the Arc of 16/1 will surely be slashed and flat racing fans will be treated to a mouth-watering encounter between him and 2/1 chance Desert Crown.
A horse who has already had a crack at l’Arc de Triomphe, finishing a respectable fourth in the torrid conditions in Paris last October, 2021 Derby winner Adayar is yet to be seen this season. However, he is expected to reappear for the King George and a second attempt at the Arc could be a goal for Godolphin, who haven’t won the race in over 20 years.
The Charlie Appleby four-year-old had a pretty manic three-year-old season last year, racing a gruelling six times and that has potentially taken a bit more wind out of his sails than first imagined. So perhaps Moulton Paddocks are trying to keep him fresh for the latter part of the campaign, and more importantly the Arc. We’ll just have to wait and see.