The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, France is generally considered the leading turf race run anywhere in the world. Not only is there strong interest across Europe, where many of the leading turf horses are trained, there is always strong interest in the USA, Australia and Japan.
Here is a look at the five leading candidates going into the 2018 renewal of the race and all the latest odds and form on the horses as they bid to be crowned the champion in France.
Enable established herself as a superstar in the sport last year with the victory in the 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which was staged at Chantilly. The win capped off what had been a fantastic season for John Gosden’s runner as she also landed the Oaks, the leading British Classic for fillies.
Credit: Juddmonte Farms via Twitter
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable hit the front with 400 metres to go at Chantilly before pulling clear of her rivals, where she was chased home by Cloth of Stars and Ulysses, respectively. It was the daughter of Nathaniel’s sixth straight success on the track. Her Group One wins last season also included the Yorkshire Oaks and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in what was a faultless campaign.
Unfortunately for her trainer and owner, Enable has not run since her 2017 Arc victory as she suffered a leg injury early in 2018. She was expected to make a comeback midway through the British flat season; however, she has not recovered in time, therefore, she isn’t expected to be seen again until September. Despite so long off the track, she remains the +500 favourite with the bookmakers to defend her crown just like Treve did in 2014.
Many racing fans were disappointed that connections of Cracksman did not run their horse in the Arc last year; instead, they opted for the Qipco Champions Stakes on British Champions Day and that move proved to be wise as he produced arguably his career-best performance, beating the Group One field by seven lengths at Ascot.
Cracksman has been very highly thought of from early into his three year old campaign as he won the Derby Trial at Epsom to put himself into the Classics picture. The son of Frankel was third in the Derby at Epsom where he was only beaten by just under two lengths. He then travelled across to Ireland for the Irish Derby at the Curragh where he finished second, just a neck behind the winner Capri.
The British horse started his campaign at Longchamp back in April and he got off to a winning start in the Group One Prix de l’Inauguration de Paris Longchamp. He then followed that up with his second straight success at the top level in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Cracksman was not quite at his best on his latest outing where he has to settle for second place in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, therefore, he is now out to +700 to win the Arc om his first attempt later in the season.
Poet’s Word started the 2018 season as an outsider for the 2018 Arc as his form last year as a four-year-old was not spectacular. After three straight victories, though, Sir Michael Stoute’s horse is right at the top end of the betting at +900 to land the prestigious turf contest in October, where he sure to be a popular tip with the likes of Oddschecker given what he has achieved already in the campaign.
Stoute’s talented runner made his seasonal reappearance at Sandown in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, where he got off to a winning start in the Group Three race run over 2000 metres. Just a month later, he stepped up in class to take on Cracksman in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and although his rival was the red-hot favourite to come out on top, it was Poet’s Word who upset the odds to win the biggest prize of his career.
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The Royal Ascot winner returned to the Berkshire-course for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes where he once again proved his class and presented his Arc credentials with an impressive performance in one of the leading middle-distance turf races in the sport.
Stoute will have a strong hang in the Arc this year as he is also likely to saddle Crystal Ocean who was narrowly beaten by his stablemate at Ascot in the King George. Although he was beaten on that occasion, the first two home were a long way clear of the rest of the field to suggest they were the standout horses in the race.
In what is his four-year-old campaign, Crystal Ocean has won three of his four racecourse starts, all of which has been at Group level. Victories came at Sandown and Newbury before he came out on top at Royal Ascot in the Hardwicke Stakes. He was ridden very prominently at the Royal meeting by his jockey Ryan Moore and once he was asked to hit full speed, he did so very comfortably to finish ahead of Red Verdon and Cliffs of Moher who had to settle for second and third place, respectively.
Crystal Ocean is +1000 to give Stoute just his second win in the Arc. Workforce who won the 2010 renewal of the event is his only success, despite so many winners at the highest level around the world.
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien’s best chance in the Arc this year is likely to be with Saxon Warrior who will be one of the three-year-olds in the field at Longchamp. After winning the Group One Racing Post Trophy at the back end of last season, a lot was expected of Saxon Warrior going into the British Classics. He justified the support behind in the 2000 Guineas where he was too quick for his rivals over 1600 metres at Newmarket.
Unfortunately for the Ballydoyle yard, he was unable to successfully step up in trip at Epsom in the Derby where he could only come home fourth in the race won by Masar. He was then given another shot at winning a Derby as he lined up in the Irish equivalent of the race at the Curragh. The +200 favourite was third as Latrobe caused a surprise at odds of +1400.
Saxon Warrior showed a much better performance in the Eclipse Stakes on his last start where he finished second behind Roaring Lion, therefore, he is now into +1200 for the Longchamp race later this year.
The 2018 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes place October 7 on what will be packed card of Group One races from Longchamp.