herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Taghrooda leads Arc market but O'Brien can become Ruler again

The first Sunday of October has long been home to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and in a couple of days time it will be run with a €5million prize attached, making it the richest race run on turf anywhere in the world.

At one stage this summer it looked like we would be gearing up for the greatest renewal of this race and one worthy of its mantle as the richest race on turf. Australia, Sea The Moon, Taghrooda and Treve were all on course to cross paths.

Taghrooda and last year's winner Treve are the only two of that quartet to remain, albeit with slightly dented reputations compared to earlier in the campaign.

That said, Taghrooda is the current market leader and we are not to lose the faith with Treve, according to her majestic trainer, Criquette Head-Maarek.

But you literally could fancy any one of 10 horses for this year's Arc and make a decent case for doing so.

It's probably hard to believe that Aidan O'Brien has only once managed to win this Group One race but so far Dylan Thomas, back in 2007, has been his sole triumph in France's finest.

It wouldn't be hard to believe if he claimed a second on Sunday.

Ruler Of The World is a Derby winner who benefited from a peach of a ride by Frankie Dettori in his trial and could be in the mix, while Coolmore parted with €120,000 yesterday morning to add Tapestry to the line up and they parted €6million last winter to buy Chicquita, obviously thinking of weekends like this.

Kingston Hill is a Classic winner, Al Kazeem may not be the force of old but has "nothing to lose", as his owner put it, and Ivanhowe is a plum spare ride for William Buick to pick up.

The 2014 Arc may not be what it could have been, but is still one full of intrigue and one to relish.

3see pages 12-13, 16

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