L’Amour For Ectot In The Arc
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
The first Sunday in October means one thing for racing fans across Europe: the Arc de Triomphe – a race which decides Europe’s top middle-distance performer.
So often a race that throws up a red-hot favourite, this year is one of the most open for some time, with the market currently 5/1 the field, courtesy of the 3yo, Taghrooda.
John Gosden’s filly has enjoyed a fantastic season to date, including two Group 1 victories in the Oaks and King George VI, before a close second in the Yorkshire Oaks (1m4f, good). It remains to be seen as to whether her bubble burst at York, but she cannot be written off on Sunday, especially given the recent good record of fillies in the Arc.
One filly to have already won an Arc is of course Treve, who triumphed here 12 months ago, and was fancied in the ante-post lists before disappointing during a C&D trial last month. That defeat made it three losses in 2014, and as a result her odds have lengthened to 8/1.
In front of Treve in the betting is compatriot, Avenir Certain (7/1), another filly who the French Oaks back in June (1m2f, good), before a Group 2 win in the mud in August, again over 1m2f. She has to prove herself over an extra two furlongs, but she will be a major player if staying the trip.
As for the males, then Ectot (6/1) is a 3yo colt who comes here with a solid record of 6-7.
A Group 1 winner over 1m last term, Eric Lellouche’s son of Hurricane Run made a successful first attempt over 1m4f in a reliable Group 2 trial over C&D three weeks ago and is still open to improvement over this trip.
Far East Challenge
One with less recent form is the Japanese hope, Just A Way (13/2), who bagged three Group 1’s during his last four races. The last of those was over 1m in the mud at Tokyo in June, and while he won over 1m2f, Sunday’s 1m4f is the big concern, as he was unplaced over 1m3f and 1m4f previously.
Another arriving from Japan is Harp Star (8/1) – a 3yo filly by Deep Impact, a sire who of course went close to winning this race himself. Runner-up in the Japanese Oaks (1m4f, firm), she gained compensation in a Group 2 six weeks ago (1m2f, firm), and is very much in the “could be anything” category.
But, what of that man Aidan O’Brien, who won this race for the only time in 2005? Well, he relies on the 2013 Derby winner, Ruler Of The World (14/1), who made a timely return to form when winning a Group 2 over C&D last month. If he can build upon that, then he could surprise Longchamp at big odds.
Roger Varian also has a lively 14/1 shot in Kingston Hill, the St Leger winner from Doncaster three weeks ago (1m6f, good) who has stamina in abundance. Runner-up in the Derby back in June, he is versatile and could come to the fore if this turns out to be a strongly run affair.
As always, a cracking race to look forward to, and one in which The French colt, Ectot, can emulate his sire Hurricane Run, who won this race nine years ago. Ectot quickened well in winning a reliable trial over C&D last month and looks the real deal.