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British and Irish Raiders On Arc Trail
25/09/13

A host of Foreign Raiders have enhanced their Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe claims in recent weeks following Trials day earlier this month including Orfevre, who finished second in last year's race and was a facile winner of his prep race and duly cemented his place at the head of the ante-post betting at 3/1, whilst French filly, Treve, was another eye-catching winner and the Criquette Head-Maarek trained three year old is vying for favouritism with the aforementioned Japanase runner and is currently a best price 9/2 to become the third female in a row to win Europe's richest flat race.

Novellist
© Racehorse Photos

Novellist

Emphatic King George winner Novellist is another classy performer representing Germany on October 6 and heads to the French capital having followed up that five length Ascot victory with a Group One win at Baden-Baden a couple of weeks ago, whilst Andre Fabre's Flintshire, a long time ante-post favourite has drifted in the last couple of weeks after failing to justify favouritism in his trial a couple of weeks ago when fourth of seven in the Prix Neil.

This year, the British and Irish challenge doesn't look as strong as it has in recent years and only a handful of entries will try to end the three year wait for a cross-channel victory, with Workforce the last one to return with the €2.8m first prize in 2010.

Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won this race since 2007 when Dylan Thomas was given the nod in the closest of photos finishes over Youmzain and the Ballydoyle Maestro is set to try and end that six year wait by unleashing this year's Epsom Derby winner, Ruler Of The World, who was sensational when landing the Classic earlier in the campaign and shaped with real promise in the Group Two Prix Niel.

The Irish Raider was just touched off by Kizuna in that event and was immediately cut to 10/1 with Betfred for the Arc and if he can produce his best next month then could be a real contender and is potentially the leading challenge for the British and Irish brigade.

Al Kazeem
© Racehorse Photos

Al Kazeem
As of two months ago, the number one challenger from the UK was fully expected to be Roger Charlton’s Al Kazeem, who has propelled into a top class Group One performer this season, but a few disappointing efforts of late have seen him drift in the betting and is currently a 14/1 shot with most bookmakers.

A fine winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, the five-year-old then went on to land the Coral-Eclipse with aplomb and if the ground were to come up soft in France then the 14/1 prove to be a decent price as he has shown some top notch form when there’s give in the ground.

John Gosden has never tasted success in the Arc, but he bids to end that with The Fugue, who has blossomed as the season has progressed and her annihilation of the aforementioned Al Kazeem in the Irish Champion Stakes showed that on her day, the four year old can fight it out with the elite of the Group One division and she could be a contender slipping under the radar and at 20/1 with Ladbrokes could be a definite each way contender.

Leading Light
© Caroline Norris

Leading Light
Another O’Brien entry to watch is Ladbrokes St Leger winner, Leading Light, who was slashed to 25/1 following his Doncaster rout and even though he has shaped like a real staying type, he may ruffle a few feathers at Longchamp if taking his place and can’t be underestimated to sneak into the money, especially given the strong trend for three year olds winning this race in recent years.

Three year olds have won eight of the last ten renewals of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and with three year old Colts receiving 8lbs on older horses and three year old fillies getting an 11lb advantage for their age, it would appear that the weight for age allowance may need reconsidering but whilst it remains in favour of the youngsters, no three year old should be ruled out.

The British and Irish team certainly lacks strength in depth this season and there’s not one standout challenger who you feel could strike a blow with the foreign contingent looking particularly strong, but the likes of 2012 Derby hero Camelot, who disappointed in last year’s Arc, could line up, whilst Irish Derby winner Trading Leather could try his luck, but it’s tough to see the coveted title heading back to these shores in a fortnight.

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