Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe - Planet Sport's Pinstickers’ Guide and verdict

While Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp may be missing Europe’s best horse in Baaeed, his absence means the contest now has a much more open feel to it.

Luxembourg delivered on his undoubted promise to win the Irish Champion Stakes and while he threatens to improve for this trip, there is no guarantee.

Alpinista looks sure to run her race and arguably brings the best credentials having won five Group Ones in a row, each performance better than the last.

However, the doubt remains over whether she has just been extremely well placed or is an Arc winner in waiting.

Titleholder is unlike many of the previous Japanese contenders in that he is guaranteed to stay the trip, having winning form over two miles in his homeland, and it would be marvellous for the contest's profile should the racing-mad nation get their first win.

MISHRIFF (John and Thady Gosden) Mark (out of 10) 6

Has been a true credit to connections over the last three seasons but on all known evidence, he is not quite the performer he once was. Wins in France, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and at York marked him out as one of the best in the world at one point, but he has had his limitations exposed this season and this trip stretches him. Draw in stall 17 makes things even tougher.

TORQUATOR TASSO (Marcel Weiss) 7

A shock winner 12 months ago, he will nevertheless be a player once again - especially with rain around. While he ran a perfectly acceptable race in the King George at Ascot behind the sidelined Pyledriver, his defeat at Baden-Baden last time out to the previously unheralded Mendocino suggests he would be found wanting in anything other than testing conditions. This race does have a history of suiting certain types, though, so it would be folly to dismiss him but Frankie Dettori will need to be at his best from stall 18.

MARE AUSTRALIS (Andre Fabre) 6

A Group One winner and the sole representative of Andre Fabre who has won this race more than anyone else, and on the pick of his form he would have each-way claims. The step up to a mile and a half suited on his penultimate run, but last time out he was well beaten by Alpinista, with his trainer suggesting a possible dislike for Saint-Cloud as the reason. Stall 19 would temper enthusiasm, though.

SEALIWAY (Francis-Henri Graffard) 4

Fifth at a huge price 12 months ago before going on to win the Champion Stakes at Ascot, he has failed to get his head in front this season since a trip to the Saudi Cup. He ran perfectly respectably when beaten by State Of Rest in the Prix Ganay, and last year's Arc remains his only run over the trip. Wide draw in 15 not really a help, either.

ALENQUER (William Haggas) 4

A winner at the highest level earlier this season in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, he will be having his second run in the Arc having finished ninth, beaten around seven lengths last year. The fast-ground summer has not been in his favour and he was last in the Eclipse. He could have been expected to fare better in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out and has plenty to find with the first three home from that race. Wears first-time blinkers.

DEEP BOND (Ryuji Okubo) 5

Came over from Japan last year with real expectations having bumped heads with the best on home soil. Confidence grew when he won the Prix Foy, but he trailed home last of 14 in the Arc. No prep race this year and has been no match for Titleholder on home soil, so there is no reason why he should be in France.

BROOME (Aidan O'Brien) 3

Aidan O'Brien

Did win the Hardwicke this year from Hurricane Lane and has been a real globetrotter in his career. However, even though he is trained by a master, this would rate as a shock on a par with last year should he come home in front so often have his limitations been exposed.

STAY FOOLISH (Yoshito Yahagi) 5

Only one other seven-year-old has won the race (Motrico, 1932) which gives you an idea of the size of the task. Was given a great ride to win the Dubai Gold Cup earlier this year over two miles and was not disgraced in the Grand Prix de Deauville, but likelihood is younger legs will prevail and drawn widest of all in 20.

MOSTAHDAF (John and Thady Gosden) 6

Won five of his first six races with his only defeat coming in the St James's Palace Stakes last year. He appeared to have plateaued this season, especially when a well-beaten favourite on his penultimate outing, but looked much more like his old self when beating the useful Dubai Honour easily last time out. Not without claims in the Baaeed colours but stall 16 complicates matters.

MENDOCINO (Sarah Steinberg) 4

Would not have been a name easily recalled by those from outside Germany until he humbled last year's Arc winner Torquator Tasso last time out. He will be ridden by last year's winning jockey Rene Piechulek, but he will need lightning to strike twice.

TITLEHOLDER (Toru Kurita) 10

Unquestionably the best horse currently in Japan and running in the one race that nation would like to win above all others, they might just have the horse to do it with this time. There have been numerous near-misses with the likes of El Condor Pasa and Orfevre, but the domination of Japanese-trained horses on the worldwide stage continues apace. Winners at the Breeders' Cup and Dubai Carnival have shown what a force they are, yet Titleholder - at home at least - is much better than those to have won abroad already. The one to beat.

BUBBLE GIFT (Mikel Delzangles) 5

Won the Prix Niel last season and went on to finish fifth in the Arc. Has been consistent this term, running some gallant races in defeat without ever suggesting he will win a race of this stature. A length and a half behind Alpinista at Chantilly, he was a beaten favourite in the Prix Foy last time out when second to Iresine.

GRAND GLORY (Gianluca Bietolini) 3

A Group One winner last year in the Prix Jean Romanet, she was just touched off in the Prix de l'Opera and massively outran her odds in the Japan Cup when fifth to Contrail. Two wins in lesser company have been followed by two defeats in Group Ones this season and she would be a surprise winner.

ALPINISTA (Sir Mark Prescott) 9


Seems to have beaten half the field at one stage or another during her hugely-impressive seven-race winning streak - five of which have been at Group One level. There were those who questioned her initially as the first three all came in Germany, but victories in France and the Yorkshire Oaks have earned her new followers this year. She goes on all ground, is well drawn in six, is tough and sets a very tall standard to aim at. But might just lack a touch of brilliance that can be needed for this race at times.

VADENI (Jean-Claude Rouget) 7

A late acceptor for the race when connections realised the ground was going to be decent and he arguably brings some of the strongest form to the table. Winner of the French Derby and Eclipse, he was a little short of room when beaten by Luxembourg in the Irish Champion Stakes but does not appear to be crying out for this trip - stall two is a help though.

AL HAKEEM (Jean-Claude Rouget) 6

One of the least exposed runners in the field and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he will improve further for stepping up in trip. His only defeat this season came in the French Derby behind stablemate Vadeni, when he was staying on strongly and he was doing all his best work late when last seen winning a Group Two at Deauville. Could outrun his odds.

ONESTO (Fabrice Chappet) 8

Had the choice of this race or the Champion Stakes and connections have decided to stay closer to home. It is an understandable decision given he has proved his stamina over a mile and a half already and he ran so well in the Irish Champion Stakes when beaten just half a length. Had St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov and Prix Niel winner Simca Mille behind him in the Grand Prix de Paris.

WESTOVER (Ralph Beckett) 7

With a cleaner run he would likely have been second in the Derby and he went on to make no mistake in the Irish equivalent, winning by seven lengths. Connections then decided to let him take his chance against his elders in the King George at Ascot, but he got into an early battle for the lead and ran no sort of a race. With his team deciding to skip the St Leger to go for this instead, confidence must be high in the camp he will run a big race and he is well drawn in stall seven.

DO DEUCE (Yasuo Tomomichi) 5

Yet another Japanese raider and this one won the Derby in his homeland. Came with something of a tall reputation and was sent off favourite for the Prix Niel, but in a race that lacked strength in depth, he was well beaten behind Simca Mille and it is hard to see him getting involved.

LUXEMBOURG (Aidan O'Brien) 9

One of Europe's leading two-year-olds last season, he ended the term unbeaten and the winner of Doncaster's Futurity Trophy. Seen as a Derby type, he ran as well as could be expected to be third in the Guineas but picked up an injury which kept him out for over 100 days. Scrambled home in a Group Three, but took a huge leap forward to win the Irish Champion and looks sure to relish the extra trip. Could hardly be better drawn in stall eight.

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