Andy Holding gives his thoughts ahead of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Enable has been by far and away the best middle-distance horse of the season so far, cementing her position as the leading 1m 4f of her generation with wins in the English and Irish Oaks before going on to lower the colours of a stellar field of older horses in the King George at Ascot when last seen. Quite rightly, she’s a deserved short-priced favourite for this big, end-of-season spectacular on all known form and it’s probably one of the main reasons why the public are likely be robbed of seeing stable companion Cracksman face the starter. Despite winning one of the recognised trials for the Arc, the Prix Niel, last time out, the latter-named is still unlikely to face the starter back there on the first Sunday in October with connections still adamant that their charge might not be ready for such a test at this stage of his career. Whether that ends up being the right decision only time will tell, but without Cracksman in the field, the race all of a sudden appears a bit threadbare behind the very strong-looking favourite.
With so many ifs and buts surrounding most of her opponents at this stage, there doesn’t appear too many jumping off the page as a value each-way alternative with the exception, that is, of ORDER OF ST GEORGE (best price 16-1).
Although only a five-year-old, he seems to have been going around for much longer and through most of his 20-race career, he’s pretty much dine at the very top table and danced every dance. Not many horses have the stamina and guts to win a Gold Cup over 2m 4f and possess the speed and quality to finish third in a top-class 1m 4f Group 1, but that’s what Aidan O’Brien’s inmate achieved last season when keeping on well for a place behind Found, and it would come as little surprise to see him bang on the premises again twelve months on given his current wellbeing.
Given that the ground was on the fast side at Chantilly last year, the son of Galileo did remarkably well to finish within range of his much speedier stable mate on the day and that effort just goes to show what a tough and willing attitude this fella has. Although he may not have beaten much in the Irish St Leger on his most recent outing, he couldn’t have been any more impressive and that performance was a far cry from his demise at the hands of Wicklow Brave the previous season. The way he travelled and quickened on the soft ground at the Co Kildare venue suggests he’s a horse brimming with health at present and if the conditions do ride on the easy side of good this time around (unbeaten on four starts when the word ‘soft’ has been in the going description), there’s more than a fair chance he will provide Enable supporters with the most anxious moments.