Arc picture changes dramatically with Snowfall’s surprise defeat
French filly Raabihah’s chance improves in Qatar Prix de L’Arc Triomphe in Paris next month
Voulour, c’est pouvoir. The translation of this French phrase is “where there’s a will, there’s a way” and that’s now the thinking of three top trainers as they line up their charges for a tilt at Europe’s richest race, the Qatar Prix de L’Arc Triomphe, in Paris on October 3.
After three important races at the weekend, trainers Charlie Appleby, Roger Varian and Dermot Weld are all harbouring great expectations for the €5m race at Longchamp.
Of this trio, Irishman Weld will perhaps be the most optimistic as his filly Tarnawa put herself firmly in the picture by running a gallant second behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Irish Champion Stakes at the Curragh.
The winner survived a stewards inquiry after the race and many pundits voiced the opinion that the result would have been overturned if run in England or France. The Irish stewards allowed the result to stand.
At Doncaster on Saturday, Appleby’s three-year-old Hurricane Lane advertised his Arc chance by taking the St Leger in commanding fashion. It means the trainer could be double-handed in the Arc as he also has Derby winner Adayar lined up for the race.
William Buick was delighted with Hurricane Lane’s performance. He said: “It worked out beautifully, you never know till you go this far with a three-year-old. He took me into the race so nicely and he’s got that turn of foot at the end.”
Now Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed and Appleby must decide if both horses go to Paris. “It’s a nice situation to be in,” quipped Appleby. “What I like about Hurricane Lane is that in the paddock he walks around like an old boxer, as cool as you like,” he said.
There is one ominous statistic hanging over the Leger winner — no horse, not even Nijinsky, has gone on to win the Arc after scoring at Doncaster. “We know it hasn’t been done, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We’ll let the dust settle and then formulate plans,” said Appleby.
Unquestionably, the shock of the weekend was the defeat of Aidan O’Brien’s filly Snowfall who has been favourite for the Arc since June.
Sent off at 1-5 in the hands of Frankie Dettori for the Prix Vermeille, Snowfall was beaten a length and a half behind Teona, now a 16-1 chance for the Paris race.
Bookmakers’ reaction was to push Snowfall out to 6-1 for the Arc, but Dettori was not too despondent. “I was probably too far back and I don’t think Hollie [Doyle] went fast enough for me. It turned into a bit of a sprint and Ollie [Olivier Peslier] outsprinted me.”
Teona’s trainer Varian considered the victory “quite a shock” but it was a pleasing performance by the daughter of Sea The Stars who was having only the seventh race of her career.
It is 15 years since a Japanese horse, Deep Impact, ran third in the Arc but this year they have two live candidates in Chrono Genesis and Sunday’s Prix Foy winner Deep Bond.
Chrono Genesis ran well behind Juddmonte International victor Mishriff in July but he is rated a serious contender by bookies for a first Japanese win with a price of 12-1.
Certainly, it was a weekend when many Arc hopes were dashed and this column remains in the camp of French filly Raabihah whose preparation has gone without a hitch.
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