2019 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Odds and Betting Preview
The 2019 flat racing season has offered up some of the most wonderous races and stories of the sporting year, and while the sun is about to set on another summer campaign, perhaps the best is yet to come in Paris this Sunday afternoon as Longchamp hosts the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with the start time due off at 15:05 BST.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is a Group 1 flat horse race, open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. The race is run over the classic middle distance trip of one mile and four furlongs (2400m).
Popularly referred to as the “Arc”, it is Europe’s most prestigious horse race. Its roll of honour features many highly acclaimed horses in its history, and its winners are often subsequently regarded as champions. It is currently the world’s richest turf race and third-richest horse race – behind the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup.
Date: October 6, 2019
First run back in 1920, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was won by Comrade, a three-year-old colt, with the winner’s prize of 150,000 francs. From 1935, the race was helped via lottery funding to maintain its high-profile status within the sport, until the early 1980’s, when sponsorship became heavily involved.
Up to the present day and the race is now bankrolled by Qatar Racing, with the prize fund totalling a staggering five million euros. Following a two-year absence for racecourse renovations, the ‘Arc’ is back at its Longchamp home following the previous two years’ races being held at Chantilly.
Some of the all-time great horses have laid claim to the biggest prize in European turf racing over the years. Montjeu, Sinndar, Dalakhani, Zarkava, Sea The Stars and the mighty French filly, Treve have all tasted glory in the Paris showpiece within the last two decades.
John Gosden’s star filly Enable is back once hoping to be the most successful horse in the race by claiming her third Arc crown. 11 possible opponents will line up against her at the most recent declaration stage, so can the superstar filly complete the impossible and three-peat? Read on for our thoughts in this preview.
Hat-trick bid for Superstardom
Thirteen wins from 14 career starts and almost nine-and-a- half million pounds in prize money, Enable is the jewel in the crown of the John Gosden stable. 2019 has already been a hugely successful year, with three previous victories, but another win on Sunday would put this immensely talented filly amongst the all-time greats of the sport – if she isn’t already in that conversation.
Owned by Khalid Abdullah, Enable is just under even money (4/6) with the majority of bookmakers to retain her Arc crown, but it would take a brave punter to back against her in my view. Okay, there are some potential doubts, the course being one, as Enable will face some lesser exposed rivals in this race, but she is the obvious star judging on previous form.
Enable has learned to do just enough in her races this season, or perhaps, she is a horse on the decline. I’d prefer to lean towards the former, as the five-year old seems to always have enough in reserve to get to the finish line ahead under jockey, Frankie Dettori.
There will be plenty of punters prepared to back against the Gosden/Dettori combination I’m sure, but I believe this filly is one of the all-time greats of the sport, and her coronation could be confirmed on Sunday afternoon if she can live up to the billing.
Japan to Strike for Ireland?
According to the bookmakers at least, the most likely rival to Enable in this race will come from Aidan O’Brien’s Japan – who has done nothing but improve in his recent outings. After finishing third behind Anthony van Dyck in the English Derby, the Galileo offspring has won three consecutive races, to put this highly talented three-year old bang in the mix for this race.
Japan began his illustrious run by claiming the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and demolished his rivals by over four lengths. The Ballydoyle colt then went over to Longchamp in July and won the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris to offer course and distance form for the Arc race.
But perhaps Japan’s best effort was on his most recent start in taking down the colours of Crystal Ocean in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York. This effort was a serious piece of form, and with the benefit of a three-pound weight allowance over Enable, Japan could well be a big player in the race at the best industry odds of 6/1 with 888Sport.
French trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget has been very bullish in the media in recent days by taking up the chances of his star three-year old, Sottsass. Rouget has yet to win this race in his training career, but he believes that Sottsass has what it takes to keep the winners’ prize in his home nation.
In a similar path of success to Japan, Sottsass has won his last three outings, with his most recent being a victory at Longchamp in the Group 2 Prix Niel. It was his first outing over the mile-and-a-half trip, and he showed an excellent turn of foot inside the final furlong to win by over one length.
The beauty of punting a French horse in a race of this nature in the United Kingdom is that generally, the foreign horses are priced with a little more value than if you were to back the said horse in France itself. Sottsass is available to back at 7/1 with Ladbrokes, and it is an excellent each-way punt in my view, and it could keep the Arc trophy on home soil.
Others to Consider
The top three in the market look to hold most of the cards in this race, however, Ghaiyyath, trained by Charlie Appleby for the Godolphin operation, may well be involved at the finish. The four-year-old was beaten into third place behind Waldgeist in April at Longchamp over ten and-a-half furlongs, but there were mitigating circumstances for the poor effort as it was just three weeks behind his previous run – again at Longchamp.
Ghaiyyath was back to his very best in early September by slamming his rivals by fourteen lengths to win the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden at Baden-Baden over the Arc distance. It is not always easy to ascertain how impressive that performance actually was, dependent on the quality of opposition, but the son of Dubawi could do no more by winning as he liked. Provided that run has not taken any significant effect out of him then the 11/1 available with 888Sport is tempting indeed.
Of the remainder, only Magical and Waldgeist are likely to be involved at the business end of the race, but in truth, they both look to be fully exposed at this level to really figure.
I have to be honest here, this is a difficult race to ultimately call here as it is a little of a ‘heart versus head’ moment. From a purely sporting perspective, I would love Enable to win this race, and believe that she can win, but the 4/6 on offer is tempering my enthusiasm from a betting angle.
So, I’m prepared to offer up two each-way alternatives in Sottsass and Ghaiyyath to try and make a few units against the favourite. Both of these horses could well be very strong challengers to Enable, and if the star filly is not on her best form, then one, or the other could pounce.
- Sottsass (each-way) at 7/1 with 888Sport
- Ghaiyyath (each-way) at 11/1 with 888Sport.