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2019 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe tips - Two horses to back in Europe’s biggest flat race

Enable holds on to win her second Arc at Longchamp 12 months ago.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for Europe's biggest flat race and highlights two horses to back at Longchamp on Sunday 6th October.

This one-and-a-half-mile Group One was first staged at the famous Parisienne venue in 1920. During it’s near 100-year history, many of flat racing’s greatest horses have claimed the mammoth prize-pot on offer to the winner of the Arc, with the names of Mill Reef, Sea The Stars and Treve glittering on the illustrious roll of honour.

Six legends of the sport, including the great Treve, have tried and failed to seal a hat-trick of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victories. Next month, Enable (4/5 Ladbrokes) will bid to become the first to accomplish that incredible feat and the betting suggests John Gosden’s all-conquering mare will be very difficult to beat at Longchamp.

A routine victory in last month’s Yorkshire Oaks extended Enable’s incredible winning run into a twelfth successive race. Frankie Dettori’s favourite mount has twice seen off Magical (12/1 William Hill) this term, first in the Coral-Eclipse and again at the Ebor Festival, while also fending off the valiant Crystal Ocean to claim her second King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

In 2018, Enable returned to Longchamp on the back of just one seasonal appearance at Kempton and managed to defend her crown, despite being – in John Gosden’s own words – only 80% fit. Gosden’s stable-star should be fully wound up this time, having enjoyed an uninterrupted campaign and it will take a brave punter to bet against the favourite.

That being said, I’m feeling in a particularly brave mood today and, at odds-on, Enable offers little in the way of appeal for an ante-post punt. Plus, there are certain trends going against the market leader. As we mentioned earlier, no horse has managed to win three Arc’s on the bounce and only seven horses aged five or older have ever managed to win this historic contest.

So, we now face the unenviable task of finding a horse or two to take Enable on with. The obvious place to start would be with Aidan O’Brien’s JAPAN (5/1 William Hill) and he certainly looks worthy of a sizeable ante-post wager.

Having started the season as the ante-post favourite for the Epsom Derby, it was clear the boys at Ballydoyle held Japan in high regarded right from the get-go. It took a little while for this son of Galileo to come to hand this term but, since a limp performance on his reappearance in the Dante, Japan has done nothing but improve.

Wayne Lordan’s mount flew home to place third in that fabled Classic at Epsom, a result he built on tenfold at Royal Ascot, powering clear of some decent rivals to win the King Edward VI Stakes by a streak. A maiden top-level triumph followed in the Grand Prix de Paris, where Japan did just enough to hold off Slalom (33/1 Coral) to make a winning French debut. O’Brien then threw everyone a curve-ball, dropping his top three-year-old back to ten furlongs at York and Japan rewarded his trainer’s faith handsomely, grinding down Crystal Ocean in the final 100 yards to win the Juddmonte International Stakes.

The top five at York may have finished in a little bit of a heap and the form of the race hasn't worked out particularly well since. However, Japan was still strong enough to got the job done over a trip which looked a little on the short side and continue his steep upward curve of progression. Stepping back up to 12 furlongs is certainly a positive move and Japan has winning course form to bolster his chances.

Three-year-olds have won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 18 of the last 25 seasons and, in Japan, we have a three-year-old in this year’s renewal who can test, or maybe even beat, the great Enable.

Japan will be my main bet. However, a large field is bound to be confirmed and there have only been three years, since the turn of the millennium, where there hasn’t been a horse carrying odds of 20/1 or more in the top four places. Given that, there’s plenty of scope for a long-odds poke in this year’s Arc.

Ghaiyyath (12/1 Ladbrokes) may not be sitting on astronomical odds, but Charlie Appleby’s charge still offers plenty of each-way value at 12/1. The Godolphin flag-bearer proved he was head and shoulders ahead of his rivals when romping to victory in the Preis Von Baden last time out. Appleby’s colt was awarded an huge RPR of 128 for that runaway success and still has plenty of potential to fulfill over a mile-and-a-half.

Japanese star Deidre (25/1 Coral) followed her surprise Nassau Stakes with a decent fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes, where Oisin Murphy’s mount finished like a train after finding herself stuck in traffic two furlongs from home. Connections have already announced she will step up to a mile-and-a-half for the first time in this year’s Arc and she could be a lively outsider.
While both make appealing cases for each-way selection, the name of FRENCH KING (50/1 Coral) sticks out for me even further down the market and he could be seriously overpriced on his current odds of 50/1.

Henri-Alex Pantall watched his charge endure a fairly unimpressive three-year-old campaign, during which he placed fourth in a decent-quality Group Three here at Paris-Longchamp. A Listed victory out in Doha during February signaled French King was a horse still on the up and a move to Germany has resulted in a huge amount of improvement.

Since the autumn, Pantall’s charge has secure three pattern-race victories on German soil. French King built on a routine Listed victory with an impressive triumph in the Grosser Hansa Preis. Olivier Peslier’s mount then secured a maiden Group One triumph in the Preis Von Berlin, where French King rallied late in the day to get the better of Communique.

As form over 12 furlongs goes, that was a very good race, much better than most of the established trials won by the likes of Waldgeist (14/1 William Hill) and Sottsass (6/1 Ladbrokes). Communique may have surrendered to Ghaiyyath on his following outing, but he's won two Group Two's in England this term, the second under a penalty at Newmarket. Old Persian managed to boost the form with a second Group One win out in America and fifth-placed Alounak won a Grouped race on his following outing too.

French King may not have the same star quality of many of the names ahead of him in the betting. What he does have, though, is solid form in the bag, an improving profile and plenty of heart for the fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if French King gave an excellent account of himself on his return to France and a top-four finish looks well within his grasp.

2019 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Tips

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2019 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe tips - Two horses to back in Europe’s biggest flat race

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for Europe's biggest flat race and highlights two horses to back at Longchamp on Sunday 6th October.

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