Arguably the most coveted horse race in the world, the 102nd edition of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes place this Sunday. The €5 million contest – Europe’s most valuable race – looks set to break a record of some sort. Which one it is remains to be seen.
Unbeaten in five career starts, Ace Impact is the bookmakers’ favorite. The French-trained horse won this season’s Prix du Jockey Club – otherwise known as the French Derby – and has rock-solid credentials. However, no horse has completed the Prix du Jockey Club/Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe double since 2003.
The UK’s leading hope is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Hukum. Guaranteed to enjoy the forecast softish going, the history books handicap this dual Group-1 winner as he is aged six. A six-year-old has never won the l’Arc de Triomphe, and only once – in 1932 – has a seven-year-old taken the race.
The Continuous Quest for a Japanese Winner
No horse has ever won the St Leger and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the same season. Nevertheless, the connections of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Continuous have paid €120,000 to supplement their three-year-old into the Paris showpiece.
Three-year-olds do not have a great recent record in the l’Arc de Triomphe – winning just one of the past seven editions of the race – but the UK’s bookmakers are not perturbed, and they quote Ryan Moore’s mount on 6/1.
Continuous was bred in Japan. The nation has been trying to win the l’Arc de Triomphe since 1969. This year, Japanese hopes are pinned on a five-year-old mare called Through Seven Seas. The formbook indicates she is not the country’s best chance to date. Well-beaten in her attempts in Group-1 company, her career-best performance came in a nine-furlong Group 3 contest, a handicap where she received weight from many of her rivals.
Simca Mille the Horse With the Positives
Feed The Flame won the Grand Prix de Paris in July but was unexpectedly beaten on his reappearance in the Prix Niel earlier this month. His trainer, Pascal Bary, has held a training license since 1981 and has harvested over 30 Group-1 prizes in France. However, he has never won the l’Arc de Triomphe despite numerous attempts.
“He will win!”
Pascal Bary sounds very confident he has a serious Arc contender with Feed The Flame… pic.twitter.com/ncnm4ovKTz
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) July 14, 2023
Of the runners with no outstanding negatives, Simca Mille stands out. He is four, representing the most successful age for Arc winners in the past decade. He is also a Group-1 winner over the Arc trip, and his form at Longchamp – all in Group-1 or Group-2 contests – reads 2112.
Success for Simca Mille would give the 2023 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe a feel-good story. His trainer, Deauville-based Stephane Wattel, has held a license for 30 years. However, he has never had the big-spending owners needed to put his stables on the map. Indeed, Simca Mille gave him his first Group-1 victory when taking the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten in mid-August.
And the most significant positive of all: Two of the last three winners of the German Group 1 – Torquator Tasso and Alpinista – have gone on to land the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. This stat alone suggests that each-way players could do no worse than to support Simca Mille at the attractive 20/1 odds offered by the best horse racing betting sites.
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