THE ‘A’ TEAM: Daqman checks out the stats on Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. They all score ‘A’s as Group-1 winners but only five are the right age and none has maximum points.
ARC DE TRIOMPHE ABC: Here are the Arc stats, and how Daqman relates them to each horse:
A The last 12 winners had all won a Group 1
B Three-year-olds have won 14 of the last 17
C Nine of the last 12 won last time out
D Eight out of 11 were placed in the Prix Niel
E Six of the last 11 were trained in England or Ireland
ABCD Reliable Man The Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) winner took a four-lengths-plus drubbing from Meandre in the Grand Prix 40 days later.
But he turned the tables last time out in the best Arc trial, the Prix Niel, by an eased-down two lengths, although there were excuses made for the runner-up. Alain de Royer-Dupre also runs Sarafina, which gives him a line to last year’s Arc form.
ABCE Nathaniel Still a maiden in April, though had run up to Frankel first time out as a two-year-old. His head second to Treasure Beach in the Chester Vase didn’t mean very much at the time, what with the small field and Chester being Chester.
But Treasure Beach was second in the English and winner of the Irish Derbys, and Nathaniel went on to a dramatic success over Workforce and St Nicholas Abbey in the King George. Nathaniel won’t run on Sunday if the ground is on the firm side.
ABCE Treasure Beach Not regarded as near the top of the Ballydoyle list after winning the Chester Vase from Nathaniel, and was allowed to start at 25-1 for the Epsom Derby.
But he was the one to make a race of it with the French winner, Pour Moi, and went on to take the Irish Derby, despite yet again being ignored in that he was second favourite to a horse he’d beaten at Epsom, Carlton House.
Bounced back from defeat by Meandre (winner) and Reliable Man (third) in the Grand Prix by taking the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington, favourite for the first time since his two-year-old days.
ABC Galikova Stepped into the shoes of her illustrious half-sister, Goldikova, with four out of five this year, beaten only in the Prix Diane (French Oaks) before easily winning the one-time top trial for the Arc, the Prix Vermeille.
But it would be a rare thing these days for Galikova, Snow Fairy or Sarafina to win on Sunday. Only Zarkava in the modern era has dominated the colts in this race.
ABD Meandre Trainer Andre Fabre has taken the Arc seven times since 1987 and, when Meandre won the Grand Prix at Longchamp in July, beating Seville with Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach behind, Fabre was setting up a potential eighth.
But the third horse that day, Reliable Man, reversed the form in the Prix Niel, outpacing Meandre by an eased-down two lengths. Fabre said his horses were under a cloud with a virus and Meandre had run a temperature.
One of the features of Sunday’s race will be whether the Fabre magic can restore his hero to glory on the day that matters.
ACE So You Think The Australian champion (six Group 1s) became the British champion when he beat Workforce in the Eclipse and the Irish champion when he beat Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion Stakes.
But those races were 1m 2f championships and whether he can move up from super middleweight to the heavyweight 1m 4f is the big question that only Sunday will answer.
AC Sarafina Ran a cracker last year in a rough-house race for the Arc, when well drawn but nearly brought down by the weakening Midas Touch and having to be pulled out wide.
Unbeaten in three races this year, including the Group-1 Grand Prix de St Cloud, and defeat of Hiruno d’Amour, St Nicholas Abbey and Nakayama Festa in the four-runner Prix Foy, winning more comfortably than the short-neck verdict suggests, under hands and heels riding.
AE St Nicholas Abbey Won this year’s Ormonde Stakes at Chester on firm ground but it was his ‘soft’ success in the Racing Post Trophy of 2009 that created massive hype about him.
We were left wondering just how ‘soft’ that was after his form fell away and so did that of the runner-up, Elusive Pimpernel. That he came back at Chester and then slammed the mighty mare Midday in the Coronation Cup at Epsom was a great tribute to the training skills of Team Ballydoyle.
But thirds in the King George (behind Nathaniel) and the Arc trial Prix Foy (behind Sarafina) has seen him slip back down the ladder behind stablemate So You Think.
AE Snow Fairy Likes fast ground and would have gone all 16 races in the frame but for one rainy day at Newbury nearly two years ago.
Her star performance was a superb English and Irish Oaks double in 2010 but she has never been allowed to race over that distance for more than a year, going down to Midday in the Nassau over 1m 2f.
She was again second in the Irish Champion Stakes but reduced a nine-lengths deficit in her first encounter with So You Think to only half a length.
AE Workforce Shuffled back by crowding on the rail at halfway but managed to weave through from fair, but less than perfect, draw for last year’s Arc and ran on too strongly for his Japanese adversary inside the final furlong.
Workforce had gone to the Arc after defeat in the King George and again this year he lost out at Ascot, this time less ignominiously to Nathaniel after also finishing runner-up in the Eclipse, to So You Think.
A Hiruno d’Amour Top owners who wouldn’t swap their horse for this one in the Arc would certainly wish to have his Japanese prizemoney: £910,000 alone for winning a Grade 2 at Hanshin in April.
The total won soared to almost £2.5m, with his first Group 1 success at Kyoto in May. Did well to go down a short-neck to Sarafina in the Prix Foy (St Nicholas Abbey third, Nakayama Festa last of four), considering he hadn’t been seen since that Spring double.
A Nakayama Festa Badly drawn in 10 last year and another to suffer from the scrimmaging, having to be snatched up three out but soon recovered and sent into the lead inside the final quarter mile until headed in the last few metres.
Has had just the one run this year, last of four to Serafina, trying to make all in the Prix Foy trial but overtaken inside the last quarter mile, nevertheless beaten little more than three lengths.
B Testosterone Pascal Bary stepped her up quickly from Group-3 success at the French Derby meeting to a Group-2 at Saint-Cloud three weeks later. But she met her match in the Vermeille (Group 1) when comfortably held by Goldikova, and unlikely to have the balls for this. Literally.
BET 2pts win and place ISTHMUS (3.10 Warwick)
BET 2pts win and place ADAJAL (3.50 Bangor)
BET 5.5pts win (nap) PRESS OFFICE (6.40 Kempton)
BET 2pts win and place SPINNING WATERS (8.10 Kempton)
BET 4pts win and place GREAT ACCLAIM (8.45 Kempton)