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Paris: The field for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) at Longchamp on Sunday counts 19 names, and the big favourite Sea The Stars drew well in stall six.
Stacelita, the top filly in France, was not so fortunate with stall 16, while 'King George' winner Conduit (12) and Irish derby winner Fame And Glory (10) were both handed good starting points.
PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (G1)
Longchamp 4 October 2009 – 1 ½ miles turf
Projected contenders presented with best
Globeform rating, sire and trainer / jockey (draw)
130 – SEA THE STARS (Cape Cross) / J Oxx / M Kinane (6)
124 – STACELITA (Monsun) filly / J-C Rouget / C Soumillon (16)
124 – FAME AND GLORY (Montjeu) / A O’Brien / J Murtagh (10)
124 – CONDUIT (Dalakhani) / Sir M Stoute / R Moore (12)
124 – YOUMZAIN (Sinndar) / M Channon / K Fallon (1)
122 – GETAWAY (Monsun) / J Hirschberger / S Pasquier (3)
121 – VISION D’ETAT (Chichicastenango) / Eric Libaud / O Peslier (9)
118 – DAR RE MI (Singspiel) filly / John Gosden / J Fortune (2)
119 – CAVALRYMAN (Halling) / A Fabre / L Dettori (19)
117 – HOT SIX (Burooj) / G Duarte / T Pereira (4)
117 – THE BOGBERRY (Hawk Wing) / A de Royer Dupre / M Kappushev (18)
112 – MAGADAN (High Chaparral) / E Lellouche / A Crastus (17)
111 – BEHESHTAM (Peintre Celebre) / A de Royer Dupre / G Mosse (15)
108 – LA BOUM (Monsun) mare / R Collet / T Jarnet (8)
108 – STEELE TANGO (Okawango) Roger Teal / D Holland (7)
104 – TANGASPEED (Vertical Speed) filly / R Laplanche / I Mendizabal (11)
…? – TULLAMORE (Theatrical) / Z Koplik / J Janacek (13)
105 – GRAND DUCAL (Danehill Dancer) / A O’Brien / P Smullen (5)
100 – SET SAIL (Danehill Dancer) / A O’Brien / S M Levey (14)
Horses rated with a “p” (plus):
Sea The Stars, Stacelita, Fame And Glory, Cavalryman, Beheshtam
A: SEA THE STARS
B: CONDUIT, FAME AND GLORY
SEA THE STARS is a strong, imposing individual, and his form is every bit as good as his looks. If at all possible, it’s better. He has won the 2,000 Guineas over a straight mile at Newmarket (beat Delegator despite not being fully wound up on his seasonal debut), the Derby over 1 ½ miles at Epsom (beating subsequent Irish Derby winner Fame And Glory), the Eclipse Stakes (G1) over 1 ¼ miles at Sandown Park (from dual G1 winning miler Rip Van Winkle), the Juddmonte International Stakes over the same distance at York (defeating Royal Ascot winner Mastercraftsman) and the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown, again over 1 ¼ miles (very impressively by 2 ½ lengths from Fame And Glory). He has improved with each and every run this year and there could be more to come.
Clearly the best middle distance horse in Europe, probably the best horse overall, Sea The Stars will take all the beating in the ‘Arc’ – provided the ground remains good or good to firm. Any significant rain over Paris might mean he stays at home – and goes for the Champion Stakes (G1) at Newmarket and / or the Breeders Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita. So far, the weather forecast is in his favour.
With five Group Ones in the book, Sea The Stars already has an impeccable CV, but winning the Arc still means more than any other success his connections have enjoyed with the son of Cape Cross. His class is undisputed, and his main assets are his high cruising speed, his laid back nature, combined with a fine turn of foot, and – of course – the fact that he has one of the world’s finest trainers and one of the world’s strongest riders on his side. Winning the Arc has proved a bridge too far for many a spring / summer champion over the years, but it is impossible to oppose Sea The Stars this weekend. He sets a high standard, and he is obviously the one to beat. If the early pace is slow, it will work very much in his favour. Then again, any horse that runs too fast too early, will be vulnerable to the finishing kick Sea The Stars can produce. In other words, most of the other jockeys face a dilemma, ‘how can the big favourite be beaten’? The answer is probably, if the heavens open over Paris on Saturday / Sunday.
STACELITA was beaten by Dar Re Mi in the Prix Vermeille (G1), though handed the race after a Stewards’ enquiry. This means the she retained her unbeaten record going into the Arc and Stacelita will be a popular choice among many of the French punters. Understandably so, as she had been so impressive in her previous races. Her win in the Prix de Diane (G1) – French Oaks – was particularly good and there can be no doubt that she was a bit short of match fitness in the Vermeille last month, her first start back following a summer break. Stacelita will stay the trip, no doubt about that, and she is a likely improver. Her chances increase with any rain, as she is extremely effective on soft and heavy ground. On good to firm ground, one would have to assume she is running for a place. Stacelita is an interesting each-way bet with English bookmakers, as they go as big as 14-1 about Jean-Claude Rouget’s wondergirl. Not a bad price, for a horse sitting in second spot on the Globeform ranking. She will be much shorter on the French PMU.
SARISKA will not run if the ground remains on the fast side, according to her connections, and let’s hope there will at least be some rain in the second half of the week, ensuring her participation. Make no mistake, this is also a top class filly, and she could well improve again. Sariska only just held on from Midday in the Oaks Stakes (G1) at Epsom and ran to a much better rating on testing ground in the Irish Oaks, which she landed hard held by 3 lengths from Roses For The Lady. Midday was third, this time beaten 7 ½ lengths. Sariska could have won by at least six that day, however, and she should not be underestimated.
FAME AND GLORY, running for the powerful Aidan O’Brien team, is in with a serious winning chance, despite the fact that he has been beaten twice by Sea The Stars this year. He was a good runner-up to the Arc favourite in the Derby over 1 ½ miles at Epsom though beaten quite easily when the two met again in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) over 1 ¼ miles at Leopardstown. The added distance in the Arc is just what he needs to show his best. After running second at Epsom, Fame And Glory outclassed his opponents on soft ground in the Irish Derby (G1). In scooting away from Golden Sword, Mourayan and Masterofthehorse, he may not have beaten much, but Fame And Glory was 5 lengths clear at the post and it would have taken something special to match strides with on the day. The ground was good to soft and, with so much stamina, it is likely that Fame And Glory will return even better ratings on soft ground. A strongly-run race would suit him best on Sunday, and Aidan O’Brien has left in four possible pacemakers to choose from when the final field is drawn on Friday. On good or good to firm ground this colt is one of the few capable of giving Sea The Stars a run for his money, on softish ground he would be a major threat and on soft or heavy Fame And Glory could take over as the favourite, in Sea The Stars’s absence.
CONDUIT is way too big in the betting at 8-1. This is the each-way bet of the century. Having had a break since his game win over stable companion Tartan Bearer in the King George VI & Queen Stakes (G1) at Ascot in the summer, he looks sure to finish in the top three. If Sea The Stars fails to produce his best, Conduit is one of those who can grab the glory. He progressed really well throughout his 3yo career, which ended in impressive wins in the St. Leger (G1) at Doncaster and Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita, where he quickened like a top class horse to beat Eagle Mountain by 1 ½ lengths. Dancing Forever was third and Soldier Of Fortune fourth, giving the form a strong look. Still, the impression was that Conduit would develop into an even better horse at four. He was a late starter this season, partly by design, and has been trained for an autumn campaign. His win in the ‘King George’, where he beat last year’s Derby runner-up by almost two lengths, was a nice step forward off his third (when given a bit too much to do) behind Sea The Stars and Rip Van Winkle in the Eclipse Stakes (G1) over 1 ¼ miles at Sandown Park three weeks earlier. The Arc trip suits Conduit much better, and he should have a good chance on Sunday. His experience gives him a point over Sea The Stars, as Conduit is a runner who has run well over seven different courses.
YOUMZAIN has been second in this race twice, going very close when beaten in a photo finish against Dylan Thomas two years ago and losing nothing in defeat when 2 lengths behind the brilliant Zarkava last year. A battle hardeded and tough traveller, Youmzain is a G1 winner in his own right, he clearly loves Longchamp, and he gets Kieren Fallon on board. That is a big plus, and the Mick Channon trained son of Sinndar can be expected to run a big race once more – though it is hard to imagine him winning this Arc. Zarkava was something else, but then so is Sea The Stars and there is more strength in depth in this year’s edition of Europe’s championship race than what was the case twelve months ago.
GETAWAY, whose form has improved in recent weeks in Germany, as well as last year’s fifth placed finisher VISION D’ETAT are both capable of running into a place, if everything falls right. Vision d’Etat, winner of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot in June (beat Tartan Bearer half a length), probably has the best shot. He ran a nice race when second to Spanish Moon in the Prix Foy (G2), where Vision d’Etat was given a very tender ride.
DAR RE MI, the English trained filly who upset the heavy favourite Sariska in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) and was first past the post against Stacelita in the Prix Vermeille (G1), is also one to consider for punters going for a Trio, Trifecta or even a Superfecta in this race. She was travelling really well throughout in the Vermeille and her ‘win’ did not seem to be a fluke at all. She was harshly disqualified for having caused minor intrference. Perhaps this daughter of Singspiel is improving now. If she is, she can take a hand at the finish.
CAVALRYMAN represents the French 3yo colts’ division and, good as he has been in his own age group, it must be said that he needs abnormal improvement to lift the Arc. He beat little when taking the Prix Niel (G2) in his prep here last month, and the form he showed to beat Age of Aquarius in the summer also falls short of the best in this field. That said, a colt with his profile normally improves, so knocking Cavalryman out of ‘exotics’ bets could be dangerous. Andre Fabre and Frankie Dettori are names that always attract a lot of support and if you do fancy this colt, you should take the best odds available with the UK bookmakers (currently 10-1), as his PMU price at Longchamp will be probably be quite a bit shorter.
BREEDERS' CUP SPECIAL 2009
OPENS ON MONDAY OCTOBER 5
Last update: 2009-10-05 03:44:14 (First published: 2009-09-14 05:13:22 )
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