Horses jump a fence during a hurdle race at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, western England. Picture: REUTERS
Horses jump a fence during a hurdle race at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, western England. Picture: REUTERS

While the US is consumed by the forthcoming presidential election, the only thought on the minds of racing fans is Sunday’s Qatar Prix de L’Arc De Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris.

The mile and a half race (off at 4.05pm SA time) will be broadcast live to 50 countries and Racing TV, which supplies overseas racing to Tellytrack (DStv 249), has planned a six-hour package.

Because of Covid-19, a crowd limit has been set at 1,000 people with priority to those with runners in the big race.

Two females, Enable and Love, were expected to dominate Europe’s most important race, but that all changed on Thursday when Aidan O’Brien withdrew second favourite, Love.

He said: “We didn’t have any choice because it would have meant a big fine if we had waited till Sunday.”

Now the big question is whether Enable can add to her victories in 2017 and 2018. No horse has won the Arc three times.

However, rain in Paris has resulted in a number of pundits suggesting this is no longer a one-horse race. A total of 14.4mm has fallen on the course in the past seven days and the going is described as “very soft”.

Enable, who has run well in these conditions, is now firm favourite at 6-4, but the record books are against a fairytale ending for trainer John Gosden and the mare’s regular pilot Frankie Dettori.

Even so, with her popularity on a par with that of Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal, her legion of fans will be urging her on from their UK homes and Premier League football might have to take a back seat for at least 10 minutes.

This is a prize the French like to keep at home and they will field a useful team including 2019 third Sottsass, Persian King, trained by Andre Fabre who has won the race eight times, and the talented three-year-old filly Raabiyah.

Tuning into a Racing Post podcast, it was pleasing to hear that Paddy Power spokesperson Paul Binfield was on the same page as this writer believing that 5-2 a place for Raabiyah was an attractive bet.

It must be remembered that — before the Prix Vermeille — Raabiyah was a 8-1 chance with her trainer Jean Claude Rouget telling the media: “I'm only scared of Love in the Arc.”

Then, in the Vermeille, jockey Cristiano Demuro somehow got lost with his mount at the rear of the field before making late progress to finish a never-dangerous second. As a result, the filly’s price was knocked out to 16-1.

Persian King’s stamina is far from assured and there are those predicting that the Fabre inmate will run out of gas over the final 400m. Still, the trainer knows what is required to win the race.

Two horses that have attracted support in the past few days are Enable’s stablemate Stradivarius and German Derby winner In Swoop. The booking of Olivier Peslier — a four-time winner of the Arc — is a plus factor for champion stayer Stradivarius.

The trifecta might pay well and the recommendation is to rove Raabiyah in this bet with Enable, Stradivarius, Sottsass, In Swoop, Serpentine and Persian King. This wager will cost R126.

Turffontein hosts two grade 2 races on Saturday — the Spring Challenge for Fillies & Mares and Spring Challenge for colts and geldings.

In the former Anything Goes gets the weight-for-age allowance and can beat Golden Belle and Mill Queen, while in the latter Cirillo is the selection to beat Mount Pleasant and Riverstown.

TURFFONTEIN SELECTIONS

1st Race: (6) Lhasa Star (4) Nina Amelia (12) Run April Run (1) Cosmic Ray

2nd Race: (9) Purple Panther (6) Man Of Property (2) Fort Love (1) Petersham

3rd Race: (11) Traveling Wilbury (6) Lotus (5) Liverpool Legend (8) Scottish Primrose

4th Race: (6) Seven Patriots (3) ExpressfromtheUS (1) American Indian (8) Category Four

5th Race: (6) Ecstatic Green (5) War Of Athena (8) Due Diligence (3) Gin Fizz

6th Race: (11) Anything Goes (1) Golden Belle (5) Mill Queen (7) Magic School

7th Race: (3) Cirillo (13) Mount Pleasant (10) Riverstown (1) Chimichuri Run

8th Race: (3) Lady Of Steel (5) Putontheredlight (4) Invidia (1) Eden Roc

9th Race: (3) Moments Like This (6) Castle Durrow (7) Entente (2) Kay Tee Perry

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