All Change in Arc Betting after Trials
With just over two weeks to go before Europe’s most prestigious horse race, the Prix de L'arc de Triomphe, its antepost market has seen a number of significant changes following last weekend’s three trials together with the outcome of Doncaster's St Leger.
As has been well reported, the Arc's antepost favourite, Camelot, has been removed from the market and favouritism has returned to last year’s imperious winner, Danedream, who is now a 9/2 shot. Ballydoyle have not entirely ruled out an appearance by Camelot in the race but at this stage it would seem most unlikely that he will feature with the Irish yard likely to be represented by St Nicholas Abbey at Longchamp on Sunday 7th October.
Danedream, who was a 20/1 outsider when winning the race 12 months ago has been enjoying her four year old campaign, winning three of her four starts, one of which was the Group One, King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. She comfortably won her "Arc" trial in a Group 1 at Baden-baden earlier this month and will now bid to become the first runner to win back-to-back renewals of the Arc since Alleged in 1977/78.
In winning the Arc last year, the German trained four year old broke the existing course record and won the race by a massive five lengths but she was in receipt of the maximum allowances (8lb for age and a further 3lb for being a Filly), thus, getting 11lb on some of her older rivals. This year, she will have an extra 8lb burden to carry. Significantly and very much in her favour is the simple fact that the first six home last season have all gone on to win at least 2 x Group One races, franking her form and making her a genuine contender this year too.
Challenging Danedream at the head of the betting is the Japanese entry, Orfevre, who won his first race in Europe last weekend when taking the Group Two, Prix Foy, over the ‘Arc; course and distance. In that race he beat the useful Andre Fabre trained Meandre by a length with the Marco Botti trained Joshua Tree a further neck away in third place. The race however was slowly run and it contained only a small field but that said, Orfevre has confirmed by his performances in Japan that he can handle large fields and there is no doubting that the four year old has a very impressive turn of foot. In many ways, he appears to be the perfect Arc horse and he will be helped considerably by having Christophe Soumillon on board, twice a winning jockey in the race.
The John Gosden trained Nathaniel is next in the betting at odds of 13/2 and he showed that he still has plenty of class about him by winning the Coral Eclipse earlier this summer. His second place behind Danedream in the "King George" is not necessarily a negative as he won the race the year before and was only beaten by the German Filly in a photo finish. His second place behind Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion Stakes earlier this month was no disgrace either, particularly as he will fare much better over the 12 furlong trip of the ‘Arc’.
Saonois, trained by JP Gauvin is around the 10/1 mark for the race but after winning the Prix Neil on Sunday, that price looks exceptional value. The French Derby winner appears to be coming to himself with perfect timing having made the step up to 12 furlongs and he showed in the Prix Neil that he has a seriously impressive turn of foot which would of course be aided by the downhill finish at Longchamp. It is worth noting that the Prix Neil has produced a total of 12 Arc winners down the years and the race this year might well be producing its 13th.
Three-year-olds have a stellar record in the Arc, winning eight of the last nine renewals, which strongly points out the advantages that the weight-for-age allowance has for the younger entries. The fact that Saonois has been supplemented for the race at a cost of €100,000 is a strong indication of his connections confidence in his ability and he could be the pick of the field at this stage.
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