Qatar Arc Road: All York roads lead to ParisLongchamp

20 August 2020

Qatar Arc Road: All York roads lead to ParisLongchamp

Photo Ghaiyyath :

The Ebor Meeting at the British track York features several races this week (Wednesday and Thursday) which could prove to be pointers for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: the World Championship race for thoroughbreds which takes pride of place at ParisLongchamp on October 4.

In the Juddmonte International Stakes, a Group 1 race run over sur 2,100 metres (10 1/2f), the Godolphin five-year-old Ghaiyyath (Dubawi) confirmed his rich vein of form. Tenth in last year’s Arc, Ghaiyyath defends a five-race unbeaten record this year. After claiming the scalp of the champion that is Enable (Nathaniel) in the Eclipse Stakes on July 5th, he followed up at the main expense of Magical (Galileo) at York on Wednesday. The latter was fifth in the 2019 edition of the Arc and she rates among the best distaffers around. The winning trainer, Charlie Appleby, confirmed that the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is the very much his charge’s big target this autumn, but on the proviso that the ground doesn’t ease too much.

Earlier on the same card at York, the three-year-old Pyledriver (Harbour Watch) stamped his authority on the Great Voltigeur Stakes: a Group 2 race run over 2.400 metres (12f). Pyledriver had drawn a blank in the Epsom Derby after landing the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. His trainer, William Muir, is planning an assault on the Grand Prix de Paris, and he is also toying with the idea of a crack at the Arc de Triomphe. The colt doesn’t currently an ‘Arc entry, but victory in the Grand Prix de Paris would remedy this by guaranteeing automatic entry to the prestige prize. The last horse to complete the Great Voltigeur Stakes - Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe double was none other than the much-heralded Alleged in 1977.

On Thursday, Love (Galileo) delivered a veritable tour de force at York in Britain on Thursday. The representative of the racing superpower that is Coolmore had a ball in the Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1), and the easy victory enabled her to become the first filly since Mysterious in 1973 to pull off the 1.000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks treble. Love is currently the hot favourite for October’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Even the great Enable, bidding to become the first to win the world championship of horse racing for an unprecedented third time on October 4th, never managed to pull off the above treble as a three-year-old. The respect for Love is borne out of the fact that she was a classic winner over a mile, which called for her to show the required speed, while, at the same time, exhibiting that she had enough stamina to be effective over 2.400 metres.

Enable is an out and out 2,400 metres mare as denoted by her roll of honour as a three-year-old when successively landing the: Oaks, Irish Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks, before signing off in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

If the bookmakers are leaning towards Love it’s because three-year-old fillies have an excellent strike rate in the Arc de Triomphe. Love will only carry 55 kilos (8st 9lb), which is 3 kilos less than Enable and 9lb less than male horses aged four and above. Four three-year-old fillies have won the Arc during the course of the last 15 editions, including the unbeaten champion Zarkava.