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Questions remain in mission to find a challenger to Enable
12 Sep 2017 | 

The history of the Arc trials card suggests it is slight odds-on that the winner of Europe's premier all-aged contest will have had their final warm up over course and distance last weekend, with 16 of the last 30 Arc winners having come that route. 

The Irish Champion Stakes is the next most fruitful place to search for Arc winners, but the 2017 edition looked to be one that was biased towards speed rather than stamina, all of which means that Chantilly is the natural place to start.

Green means go: those who advanced their case

Dschingis Secret
(Best-priced 16-1 Paddy Power, Coral and Ladbrokes)

Trainer Markus Klug passed up what in retrospect would have been a very winnable shot at his country's biggest race, the Grosser Preis von Baden, in order to raid Chantilly by taking the Group 2 Prix Foy a week later. 


Dschingis Secret, photo Liesl King

Soft ground is a prerequisite for him but there was no fluke about his powerful display and he almost certainly remains over-priced on account of his trainer, who has virtually no international profile but who landed a second Deutsche Derby this June.

"If he shows the same form on October 1 I think he can be in the first three, though I think Enable is probably better than us," said Bernd Dietel, representing owner Horst Pudwill.

Cloth Of Stars
(33-1 bet365, Paddy Power and Coral)

Often keen in races that lack early pace, Cloth Of Stars will have added an inch or so in length to Mickael Barzalona's arms during a stop-start Prix Foy on his first start for 132 days.

However, he showed no signs of cracking at the business end and can be expected to come on plenty in three weeks' time.

Trainer Andre Fabre said on Monday: "I was happy considering he hadn't run since May and the ground was against him. The Arc is the plan."

Flashing amber: the picture remains unclear

(10-1 Paddy Power)

Owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer did little to hide his preference at Chantilly on Sunday for the Prix Niel being Cracksman's last race in 2017, though he also made clear he would ultimately be guided by John Gosden. 

Cracksman showed he handled Chantilly – a fair track which has few tricks up its sleeve – but this was arguably an easier task than the Great Voltigeur and he did nothing to shake Frankie Dettori's fidelity towards Enable.

Satono Diamond 
(16-1 Paddy Power)

Nobody plans to run fourth in their prep race and the difference between Satono Diamond's performance and that of Cloth Of Stars off a similar layoff was night and day. 

The key would appear to be for the ground to dry out, which is far from impossible at sand-based Chantilly, but not something you would want to bet the house on in the second half of September. 

The fact remains Satono Diamond is considered 6lb superior to Cloth Of Stars on peak Racing Post Ratings and, if Yasutoshi Ikee can get him back to that level of form, all hope is certainly not lost.

Red light: danger 

Sunday would appear to be the end of the road for those colts that finished in behind Cracksman, while Vermeille winner Bateel is bound for either Ascot on Champions Day or the Prix Royal-Oak a day later.

Also definitely ruled out in the last 72 hours are the injured Shakeel and Waldgeist, who Fabre revealed on Monday was being aimed at the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris at Chantilly a fortnight after the Arc.

Waiting in the wings

There remain a couple of French trainers who spurned the traditional trials and are going straight to the big day without a run.

Jean-Claude Rouget continues to prepare Brametot in Deauville and will hope he can iron out the Prix du Jockey Club winner's issues with the starting stalls.

While Alain de Royer-Dupre gave Zarak his 'prep race' in a racecourse gallop at Maisons-Laffitte last week. 

Ante-post advice

(generally 16-1)

If soft ground could be guranteed then Dschingis Secret has more than justified an each-way investment, but his price is unlikely to contract a great deal while we wait for the weather.

Zarak recorded his best ever RPR on his first try at a mile and a half and remains unexposed at the trip.

As the Arc approaches, Zarkava's little lad will garner plenty of media attention and the current 16-1 could be long gone come the week of the race.


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