Mick Kinane: Arc to stay in France with Treve or New Bay
History could well beckon for Treve on Sunday as the horse bids for a third win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and there’s no doubt she is one of the greatest mares we have ever seen.
She comes into this year’s Arc having won the Prix Vermeille in a much more impressive manner than she did 12 months ago.
If you take the fact that Arabian Queen, who was 13 lengths back in the Vermeille, previously beat Golden Horn, the form looks fairly rock solid.
There is a caveat, though. Treve, for whatever reason, just isn’t the same filly on quicker ground. While I’d be surprised if the surface got on the quick side at Longchamp, if it did it would be a negative and maybe that is when New Bay will come into his own. Andre Fabre trains the French Derby winner and his record in that race speaks for itself, with seven triumphs, more than any other trainer, so if people want an alternative to the odds-on favourite, New Bay could be it.
I’m not discounting the Irish challenge as the Irish Champion Stakes is annually a top class race and often a really good trial for the Arc.
Golden Horn won on that occasion and he’s had a great year but my feeling with him is that he would need to put in a career best to beat Treve, if everything is equal, and even then it might not be good enough.
I wouldn’t be surprised if either Free Eagle or Found mad e the frame and with a bit of luck they’ll run well.
With 18 runners, the draw will be important, especially with the ground the way it is, so just be wary of backing a horse who might be drawn in the teens.
Speaking of Irish Champion Stakes form, Pleascach brings a strong level of it to the Prix de l’Opera.
Jim Bolger is well used to making a successful raid on Paris during Arc weekend and he could do it again with this filly on Sunday afternoon.
Pleascach was on the heels of the front three when we saw her last time out at Leopardstown and prior to that she got the better of Covert Love in the Yorkshire Oaks.
Those two meet again on this occasion, but I think the difference will be that Pleascach is probably running over her favourite trip of 1m2f, while Covert Love is probably more comfortable and at her best over 1m4f so that could be vital.
Across the whole afternoon we have a strong Irish contingent going to France and that begins in the opening Prix Marcel Boussac.
Aidan O’Brien won this race last year with Found, his main Arc contender this year, and he looks to have a strong hand with the Moyglare Stakes form appearing to be key.
Minding got the better of Ballydoyle on that occasion and I think that’s good form and there shouldn’t be much between them again with jockey bookings probably posing the best guide.
Jim Bolger sends over Herald The Dawn for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and Leopardstown’s Champions Weekend winner Johannes Vermeer is an O’Brien runner but a horse that catches the eye is Andre Fabre’s Ultra.
Not since 1978 has a two-year-old won the Prix de l’Abbaye but maybe Gutaifan might defy that stat for Richard Hannon.
He looks like he could be a high-class sprinter and getting the allowances of a stone from Mecca’s Angel and 18lbs from the rest of the field, that could make a big difference here and he may give the form of leading juvenile Shalaa a good boost.
I thought Limato was extremely impressive when stepping up to seven furlongs at Doncaster last time out for Henry Candy and I woudn’t be in a hurry to oppose him in the Prix de la Foret on Sunday.