Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Gosden faces O’Brien test at Chantilly
Flat racing’s £4.4m blue riband race (3.05pm BST, soft going) has moved to Chantilly while Longchamp in Paris is redeveloped.
It is shaping up to be among the most competitive in years with Gosden hoping for a second success in three years, this time with big race winner Enable.
The filly, owned by Saudi prince Khalid Abdullah, has won the Epsom, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks, as well as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
King George runner-up Ulysses and the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly Winter, another four-time Group One race winner, will provide stiff competition.
O’Brien has five runners among the 18 declared after withdrawing last year’s runner-up Highland Reel and Derby second Cliffs Of Moher on Thursday.
Jockey Ryan Moore has chosen to ride Winter for O’Brien ahead of Order Of St George, who will be partnered by the trainer’s son Donnacha.
Wayne Lordan rides Capri, Seamie Heffernan will be on Idaho while Seventh Heaven, the mount of Pat Smullen, completes the O’Brien contingent.
Likely favourite Enable is ridden by Frankie Dettori, who is in the line-up for the 28th time in 29 years (he missed the race in 2013 with a broken ankle) and is looking for a record-breaking fifth victory.
This is the 96th renewal of the race and Gosden says the narrow track at Chantilly, with its tight hairpin bend, can cause the horses to slow down.
“Quite often the best horse does not win at Chantilly because of the nature of the track,” he told one racing pundit.
Enable is strongly fancied because of her stamina and because fillies are given a weight allowance.
Zarkava, Danedream and Trêve all won well in recent years when getting plenty of weight and Enable has benefited from the lighter load in her races.
She won the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, after receiving 14lb from the Eclipse winner Ulysses, but she won by four and half lengths. Off level weights, she would still have won by half a length.
No one doubts that the daughter of Nathaniel has bags of talent and an impressive turn of foot and an ability to go on any ground.
The O’Brien bandwagon rolled on at Newmarket with two more group one winners taking the stable closer to Bobby Frankel’s tally of 25 in a single year.
US Navy Flag sprung a minor surprise in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, giving O’Brien his 20th group one winner, after stablemate Clemmie had earlier landed the Cheveley Park Stakes. Clemmie was installed as favourite for next year’s One Thousand Guineas. US Navy Flag may be aimed at the Dewhurst.
The re-scheduled Ayr Gold Cup, run as the 32Red Gold Cup at Haydock, was won by Donjuan Triumphant for Andrew Balding.