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Prix de lArc de Triomphe preview 2019 : Can Japan Defeat Enable?

3.05pm Sunday 6 October
Live on ITV
See Stats

It's Arc weekend in France, and a chance for Enable, John Gosden and Frankie Dettori to make history. By winning the race she would become the first ever horse to win this race three times, a remarkable feat and one that would end her career in the best possible way. She remained in training this year with this race in mind, and in preparation she has ran three times and won them all. She wasn't visually impressive when winning her first two races, but last time out at York she was on top form and looked hugely impressive when beating Magical by nearly three lengths.

It's Not All About Enable

It is fair to say this race is all about her, and a win would cap a sensational career and be a great celebration of that, but is there something lurking in the wings waiting to spoil the party? We think there could be. The horse in questions is Japan, a horse that has really come to life in the second half of this season and he could be peaking at exactly the right moment to take this. Much was expected from this horse in 2019, but he began the season with a dreadful performance in the Dante Stakes, finishing down the field although it is clear to see now that he desperately needed that run.

He bounced back to a certain extent in his second run of the season, finishing a close third in the Epsom Derby. He's ran three times since that run, and never looked back, he has been nothing short of brilliant and it looks as though he has really matured and come of age during that time. Japan comes here on the back of a win at York against Crystal Ocean, beating the former Sir Michael Stoute trained horse by a head. That was a similar margin to what Enable beat the horse by at Ascot, she beat him by a neck so strictly on that form line, there is little to choose between Japan and Enable.

However, one key factor here is that the race that Japan beat Crystal Ocean in was a 1m2f contest, with a further two furlongs to go in the Arc. Had that race been over this trip, Japan would have won by even further, he was really beginning to motor and looked as though he was full of running at the end of the race. With that in mind, the form can be upgraded and that gives Japan the edge for us. 

Outsiders to Consider

As for the rest of the field, we've got quite a few outsiders in the field who don't look up to the standard required to win a normal Arc, let alone one that contains a horse like Enable. For the home fans, Sottsass looks to be their main challenger, and he comes here on the back of three wins in a row, one of those being in a Group 1 contest. Another English challenger that has a chance at a big price is Ghaiyyath, a horse who has ran his last four races in Europe so he is certainly used to travelling around before a run. As for many others in the field, they are going to have to produce career best runs or hope that the front two or three in the betting under perform if they are to get involved in a clean run race on Sunday. Prediction

The whole of the racing world will be watching this one, hoping that Enable can create history with a third win in the race. As much as we would love to see that, from a betting point of view she offers no value at all. Strictly on a line through Crystal Ocean, Japan has top claim forms here and is a far bigger price, so it is the Aidan O'Brien runner that we are siding with. 

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  • Eight horses have won this race two years in a row
  • Enable would become the first horse to win this race in three successive years.
  • Frankie Dettori has won the race a record six times including three of the last four runnings.
  • Andre Fabre is the most successful trainer with seven victories, the last being in 2006.
  • Marcel Boussac and Khalid Abdullah are the most successful owners with six wins each. Abdullah will go clear if Enable wins this race,
  • The widest winning distance in the race is six lengths.
  • John Gosden has trained the winner of this race three times in the past four years. 

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