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Winter on Enable and Ulysses’ tail in the Arc

29 September 2017

At the final forfeit stage on Thursday, eighteen were left in for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the seventh and final stage of the Epiqe Series on the flat. Due to a projected softening of the ground, the master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, withdrew both Highland Reel and Cliffs Of Moher. He still has left five in the race and even so, the chances of reproducing his 1-2-3 finish twelve months ago look no easy task.
Supplemented as expected, John Gosden’s Enable (drawn 2), who has swept all before her in four successive Gr.1 events, including two classics, is still the pick of the field. She has nothing to prove over the distance, unlike the similarly dynamic Winter (8) who has never been tested beyond 2000m (1¼m). Although narrowly beaten by stablemate Hydrangea in the Matron Stakes at the Curragh, she remains one of the classiest fillies of her generation and with tactical support will be hard to oppose. Sir Michael Stoute’s Eclipse Stakes and Juddmonte International winner, Ulysses, has the inside line and is well-placed to position himself early for the tough trip over Chantilly’s demanding Derby course.
Order Of St George (9) is still Coolmore’s staying preference and it is difficult to ignore his recent Irish Saint-Leger rout, even though Ryan Moore is on the classy hopeful. Irish Derby and Doncaster Saint-Leger winner, Capri (15), would be the third choice on paper but such is the complexity of the operation that nothing can be taken at face value.
The French will not find it easy to counter the foreign onslaught even with the likes of the well-drawn Brametot (4), Zarak (18) and Plumatic (14).
Picture: Chantilly crowd on Arc Day