Saturday 19 October 2019

Draw is key to Enable's third Arc

It is now five years since the French last won their flagship race – Treve in 2014 (stock photo)
It is now five years since the French last won their flagship race – Treve in 2014 (stock photo)

Marcus Armytage

When Enable won her first Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly two years ago she was one of 18 runners. Last year, back at Longchamp, she was one of 19, but for her attempt to win an unprecedented third Arc on Sunday there will be only a dozen runners.

While that does not totally negate the effect of a bad draw, it lessens it and Frankie Dettori will hope that Khalid bin Abdullah's mare is allotted a stall between three and nine in today's draw.

At yesterday's forfeit stage, Aidan O'Brien scratched Anthony Van Dyck, who is now being aimed at the Breeders' Cup, while Jean-Claude Rouget, who is responsible for the big French hope Sottsass, supplemented a second runner, Soft Light.

"He's a nice horse, but he is not our first chance," he said of the colt whose best effort this season was when he finished four lengths behind Japan in the Grand Prix de Paris.

It is now five years since the French last won their flagship race - Treve in 2014 - but in Sottsass they appear to have genuine hope of not having to put the lion's share of the €5 million prize through a foreign exchange.

But while the Irish colt, Japan, has form which can be tied in to Enable, having beaten Crystal Ocean at York, Sottsass has never run against the older generation. He is the je ne sais quoi in the race.

"That's the situation and this is a new challenge for him," said Rouget.

Rouget, who had his first runner in the 1994 Arc but has yet to win it, brought Sottsass back in the Prix Niel and, after being hemmed in up most of the straight, he eventually burst through a gap to win.

"He didn't have the right to lose that race but he nearly did," he said.

© The Daily Telegraph, London

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