O’Brien’s Ballydoyle team looks main Arc threat to Dettori and Enable
Enable odds on for unprecedented Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hat-trick
Frankie Dettori and Enable will bid to complete a remarkable hat-trick of Prix de l’arc de Triomphe victories at Longchamp. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Frankie Dettori and Aidan O’Brien have been Arc allies in the past but it will be very different story on Sunday when the Italian rider and Enable go in pursuit of history.
The world’s highest rated racehorse is odds on to complete an unprecedented hat-trick of wins in Europe’s biggest race, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
A total of 16 horses are left in after Monday’s first forfeit stage and although there’s a supplementary stage on Wednesday everything already appears to revolve around Enable for the Longchamp highlight.
The John Gosden-trained star completed serious preparation for her potential final career start in a Monday morning workout and is set to start the first odds-on Arc favourite since Sea The Stars a decade ago.
“She’s filled her frame and there’s no doubt in my mind that a flat thoroughbred horse is probably at their absolute peak at five,” Gosden said. “We’ll see how we go. There’s some might opposition coming at us, there’s no doubt about that.”
Bookmakers reckon principal among them is O’Brien’s Juddmonte International winner Japan who is a general 5-1 second favourite ahead of the French Derby hero, Sottsass.
O’Brien has also left in his Epsom Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck as well as Enable’s old rival Magical who landed the Irish Champion Stakes last time.
Ryan Moore rode both Japan and Magical to victory last time and was on board Found when she led home an unequalled Ballydoyle clean-sweep of the 2016 Arc.
Dettori rode the third home that day, Order Of St George, and was also on board Camelot for O’Brien in the 2012 Arc, a move that wound up accelerating his split from Godolphin.
The Italian star holds a record six wins in the race, the first of them on Lammtarra all of 24 years ago.
Godolphin’s hope this time is the German Group One winner Ghaiyyath while the international element includes three Japanese entries as well as the Czech -trained Nagano Gold.
Enable is the eighth dual winner of France’s most famous race and the fifth since the war. They include Vincent O’Brien’s Alleged (1977-78) who is one of just seven Irish-trained horses to win the Arc.
Before that both Aidan and Joseph O’Brien could have Group One ambitions at Newmarket in the Sun Chariot Stakes on Saturday.
O’Brien jnr has left his Matron Stakes winner Iridessa among the 11 five-day entries and could renew rivalry with both Laurens and Hermosa who chased her home at Leopardstown.
The Ballydoyle team has also left both Happen and I Can Fly in a race that Aidan O’Brien has won three times in the past.
Tuesday’s domestic action is at Cork where the Listed Navigation Stakes is the feature. The 14 runners include the 2017 National Stakes winner Verbal Dexterity as well as Ballydoyle’s once highly-touted Amedeo Modigliani who has a first start since April.
Jessica Harrington’s Pincheck is top-rated on 109 but there’s likely to be more to come from the regally bred Up Helly Aa on just his fourth career start.
Very soft ground ruled out an appearance at Listowel last time. Prior to that he missed out on a French Group Two when the flight taking him from Shannon was suspended due to another aircraft catching fire. The son of Galileo and Fiesolana looks due a change of luck.
The same can be said for Hazran who has been runner-up in all four starts this year yet appears a genuine sort well up to winning a late season maiden.