Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 08:23 05/10/2014
Having watched every Arc since Vaguely Noble and Bill Williamson romped to victory in 1968 I can honestly say that I have never witnessed a more open renewal of Europe's richest race than the one which takes place at Longchamp this afternoon, a fact which is reflected in bookmakers going 7-1 the field for the 20-runner contest something which would have been inconceivable at the start of the season.
Back in April last year's runaway winner Treve was around the 3-1 mark to become the first back-to-back winner of the great race since Alleged in 1977/78 but the wheels have somewhat fallen off the Criquette Head-Maarek-trained filly this season and on what will be totally different ground to that encountered 12 months ago faces an uphill battle in what looks a stronger race than the one she won last year.
The three Japanese challengers - Just A Way, Harp Star and Gold Ship - add extra spice to what is already a fantastic affair and it would be no surprise should any of the trio prove successful, a remark which also applies to the unbeaten French filly Avenir Certain or our own Investec Oaks and King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stake winner Taghrooda, but it is the Elie Lellouche-trained Ectot who is fancied to come out on top at the 7-1 available with Ladbrokes.
Immensely impressive in winning his trial for today's race, the Prix Niel, giving the impression there would be a lot more to come from the son of Hurricane Run with that run under his belt and granted the improvement expected is taken to supply his trainer with a second Arc following Helissio in 1996. Having already advised Flintshire as a value each-way bet at 33-1 in the ante-post market we can expect a big run from Andre Fabre's colt who is now as short as 14-1 to give the Arc maestro win number eight, and his first since Rail Link in 2006.