Enable has become the favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday now that rain in the Paris area has made the expected going soft. There has been a corresponding drift with Love as underfoot conditions change in favour of the two-time winner.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Love has a low action which is not suited to soft ground. However, Enable prefers the going to be testing. There has been plenty of rain in Paris at the start of the week, and the forecasts suggest there is more than a 50% chance of rain in the Longchamp area on each day before the race.
Enable is currently +175 with BetOnline to win a historic third Arc. While her odds have been shortening, punters have deserted Love. The three-year-old filly is as big as +275 to win the Arc at the time of writing, having been on offer at +150 at the start of the week.
O’Brien summed up the race dynamic for his horse in the Racing Post: “Look, the way the ground is at the moment is certainly not an advantage to Love. She’s such a beautiful mover that you would love some nice ground for her.”
Online bookmakers seem to agree that Love will not get the going required for her best form. Once they cut her price, the betting public jumped on board and momentum saw her odds lengthen. Enable’s price moved in the opposite direction.
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The dilemma for Arc bettors is whether the ground will negate the 7lbs weight-for-age allowance Love gets off Enable. The winner in 2017 and 2018 and runner-up last year does get the 3lbs allowance for mares and fillies, but that won’t help visa vie Love.
Love’s racing career points to a horse that is a few pounds better on good ground. The 1,000 Guineas and Oaks she won took place on good ground, while her three losses as a juvenile were on tracks with soft in the going description. She won two races aged two on good or quicker going.
Conversely, Enable’s first Arc win was on soft ground at Chantilly. Two of her King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes wins at Ascot were achieved on good-to-soft ground. The French racing description of very soft applied when Enable all but won the Arc last season, only to be collared by Waldgeist in the final furlong.
This information is in the public domain, so there have been flip-flopping favourites for the most prestigious all-aged Flat race in Europe. However, it may be that there is insufficient evidence to be certain that Love is disadvantaged by soft ground. More proven is that Enable handles soft going, but her preference may not justify such a big betting swing away from Love.
Going preferences are usually based on a small number of races. Love has contested just 10 races, but five of her six wins were on good ground. However, in the whole scheme of things, the 7lbs pull with Enable could be more significant than the ground. Despite the betting market suggesting otherwise, Love still looks the horse to beat in the Arc.