So the draw is done, the runners are confirmed and we are edging ever closer to the Arc. All there is to do now is find the winner.
It was a mixed bag for the British and Irish raiders as the names and numbers were pulled out of the hat (well fishbowls actually). Their draws ranged from the good; Ruler of the World (6), Al Kazeem (7) and Tapestry (8), to the questionable; Taghrooda (15), to the downright nightmarish; Chicquita (18) and Kingston Hill (20).
But as we prepare to nail our colours to the mast, here are the three that we believe are the ones to be on…
Yes, not very original, tipping up the favourite, but Elie Lellouche’s colt is there on merit.
Since a narrow debut defeat to subsequent French Guineas winner Karakontie, it’s been 1s all the way in his form column.
Victory in the Prix Niel, in which he showed an electric change of pace, will only stand him in good stead in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with the last eight three-year-old Arc winners taking in that contest beforehand.
He has only run twice this season, so will have a freshness advantage over a number of the principles that have been primed to peak over the summer and at other targets, Taghrooda in the King George and Kingston Hill in the St Leger for example.
The fact that regular jockey Gregory Benoist has chosen him over the unbeaten filly Avenir Certain can only be a good thing, and we expect the three-year-old to go very close indeed.
While everyone seems to be focused on the top of the market, this one may have slipped under the radar.
In the last three years we have had a 33/1 winner in Solemia in 2013, that followed Danedream’s success at 20/1 the year before, so backing one at such a big price is by no means a lost cause.
She finished ahead of last year’s winner Treve when third in her prep race over course and distance in September, and is just the lightly raced sort that could improve to have a say in things at the business end.
She also gets the important three-year-old fillies allowance that seems to have been of vital importance of late, with four of the last six winners being female classic generation charges.
A drop of rain will likely improve her chances, but she undoubtedly handles better ground.
While he may have been drawn somewhere near the Belgian border in stall 20, Roger Varian’s colt may still run into the places – he will appreciate the extra distance he has to cover at least!
With no previous St Leger winner claiming the Arc in the same year, the son of Mastercraftsman has another trend to upset with his draw.
But he is too big a price to ignore, with Varian’s assistant stating on Friday that he’s “in better form than before the Leger”.
With just one try at 1m4f, it is hard to gauge how ideal the middle distance is for him, but with that run seeing him second behind Australia in the Derby, we think he’ll be OK.
Connections will now be hoping for the heavens to open over the French capital as the countdown to the big race continues.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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