Aidan O'Brien and Jessica Harrington lead strong Irish team gunning for French glory on Arc weekend
Enable is the blockbuster attraction this weekend as John Gosden's superstar mare bids to cement her place in the record books with a third victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe this Sunday at Longchamp.
Should the daughter of Nathaniel do so, she will become the first three-time winner of the French showpiece but Aidan O'Brien will be out to spoil the party as he saddles Japan and Magical against the red-hot favourite.
Despite pushing her close on two occasions, Magical has not been able to lower the colours of Enable in their four meetings during the past 12 months and it would be a big surprise were she to finally get her head in front on Sunday.
Japan could be the fly in the ointment, however, and if the Galileo colt can improve from his narrow defeat of Crystal Ocean in the Juddmonte International Stakes then there could be a really mouth-watering contest in store.
Aidan O'Brien runs Armory – second to the brilliant Pinatubo last time out – in Sunday's Group One Prix Jean-Luc (1.50) while the Ballydoyle maestro also saddles Fleeting, Pink Dogwood and Goddess in the Group One Prix de l'Opera (3.55).
Fairyland and So Perfect – first and second in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes – take on Battaash in the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye (4.30) while Aidan's son Joseph sends Speak In Colours over for the Group One Prix de la Foret (5.05) having landed a Curragh Group Three last weekend.
Jessica Harrington is also strongly represented in Longchamp over the weekend with Albigna currently vying for favouritism in Sunday's Group One Prix Marcel Boussac (1.15) despite disappointing in the Moyglare last time out.
Harrington also saddles Leo De Fury in the Group Two Prix Dollar (12.30) tomorrow while the unbeaten Tauran Shaman bids for a hat-trick of his own in the Group Two Prix Daniel Wildenstein (1.35).
Aidan O'Brien runs Delphinia and South Sea Pearl in tomorrow's Group One Prix de Royallieu (3.25) while Dermot Weld's sole runner on French territory is Falcon Eight in the Group One Prix du Cadran (4.35).
O'Brien is also busy in the US on Saturday night where Just Wonderful tackles the Grade One First Lady Stakes (10.04) in Keeneland while Van Beethoven runs in the Grade One First Lady Stakes (11.15) with Wayne Lordan aboard the pair.
Closer to home, Ireland rugby boss Joe Schmidt will be hoping for a change of luck at Gowran Park tomorrow (2.05) where Cosmic Horizon – a horse he owns – has his first outing over hurdles for Joseph O'Brien in the opening 3-year-old hurdle (2.05).