A total of 81 entries were made for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on May 15th. However, on Tuesday October 1, which marked the second acceptance stage, the number of aspirants in the world’s top prize had been reduced to 12. This list includes the hot favourite, Enable (by the sire Nathaniel), and the mare angles for an unprecedented third success in a race, which was run for the first time in 1920. Enable is trained in Britain by John Gosden, a handler who boasts three wins in the Arc. The mare will be ridden by the Italian-born Lanfranco Dettori, and the jockey is a legend in his own right, having already ridden a record six Arc winners. Enable races in the colours of her breeder, Prince Khalid Abdullah, and the latter, similarly, has enjoyed six wins in a race which every sportsman dreams of winning.
Out to shatter the dreams of Enable and her connections are two three-year-old colts: the respective French and Irish challengers, Sottsass (Siyouni) and Japan (Galileo).
The former is trained at Deauville by Jean-Claude Rouget and carries the colours of the famed entrepreneur and art collector Peter Brant. Sottsass has established his place as France’s best three-year-old colt as denoted by his successes in the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club in the spring, and the Qatar Prix Niel, a veritable springboard to the Arc, three weeks ago. In the plate will be Cristian Demuro, a young jockey of Italian extraction but based in France, and he will be seeking a first win in the ‘Arc.
Japan defends the colours of the international racing superpower, Coolmore, and is trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien. He won the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris over the same course and distance on July 14, before eclipsing older horses in the Juddmonte International at the British enclave, York.
Waldgeist (Galileo) is a five-year-old, something he shares in common with Enable, and he will have his supporters, having finished fourth in the 2018 edition of the race. He races in the colours of the German concern, Gestüt Ammerland, which is owned by the Dietrich von Boettischer. The latter races the horse in partnership with the British stud Newsells Park - owned by Germany’s Dr Jacobs. Waldgeist is trained by the man considered as France’s top handler, André Fabre, and will be ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot. The latter hails from the Saône-et-Loire region where his father used to train, although he spent his formative years at Chantilly under the tutelage of mastercraftsman Fabre.
Granted the presence of three Japanese challengers, plus a raider from the Czech Republic, allied to the presence of three Irish visitors, two from Britain, and a trio of home contenders, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe clearly fulfils its role as the world championship of horse racing. On Wednesday, October 3, another French contender is set to be unveiled in the form of Soft Light (Authorized). As the three-year-old colt, owned by Claudio Marzocco, and hailing from the same Deauville yard of Jean-Claude Rouget, who trains the aforementioned Sottsass, is set to be supplemented (a late entry fee) by connections at a cost 120 000 €. He will be ridden by the Japanese star who enjoys ‘cult’ status in his native homeland Yutaka Take. The 50-year-old rider is seeking his first success in the Arc…