This Sunday Stradivarius can emulate the French-trained Caracalla who is the only horse since 1946 to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Gold Cup at Ascot.
The absence of the ante post favourite Love gives Enable a great chance to win an historic third Arc. However, her stable mate Stradivarius could thwart that bid by winning the most prestigious all-aged Flat race in Europe this year and that outcome is +550 with BetOnline.
Caracalla won the Ascot Gold Cup and Arc in 1946. The colt was basically a stayer with the class to win over the one mile and four furlongs of the Arc. The distance was not his best in much the same way Stradivarius is most effective when stamina comes into play.
The John Gosden trained Stradivarius has won the Ascot Gold Cup for the last three years. The Arc second favourite has also won four Goodwood Cups. Neither race is less than two miles. Only two of Stradivarius’s 16 wins were over less than the Arc distance and he has not won over 12 furlongs.
The going at Longchamp on Sunday looks like being very soft or even more testing. There has been plenty of rain in the Paris area over the last week and conditions could deepen further.
The potential ground conditions that led to connections taking Love out of the race will be a positive for Stradivarius.
For his ante post backers at about +1400 every cloud has a silver lining.
More rain before Sunday will slow the ground and that must favour Stradivarius. If the race becomes a slog the faster horses will struggle and Stradivarius is the best staying horse in training in Europe.
A low stall number is often an advantage but that effect is not so strong on soft or heavy going. The trends show that this year’s Arc can be won from any stall. That means Stradivarius will not be at a comparative disadvantage by racing from stall 14 in a field of 15 runners.
There is only one horse Frankie Dettori would want to ride more than Stradivarius and that is Enable. He partners the two-time Arc winner on Sunday so Olivier Peslier has picked up the spare ride on Stradivarius. The French jockey knows the Arc course at Longchamp like the back of his hand so his mount’s chances are not compromised by an unfamiliar jockey.
Another major factor in favour of Stradivarius is the horse’s form over the Arc distance this season. Twelve furlongs is clearly not the ideal trip for a multiple Gold Cup winner but Stradivarius has not been embarrassed over the distance in the best company.
The Gosden horse finished third in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Sandown in June. He was five lengths adrift of Ghaiyyath and two and a half lengths behind Anthony Van Dyck off level weights.
Ghaiyyath is officially the best Flat horse in the world and Anthony Van Dyke won the 2019 Derby.
Stradivarius then won his annual Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup before again being dropped in distance. Going down by just a short neck to Anthony van Dyck over the Arc course and distance in the Qatar Prix Foy (13 September), was a decent trial for Sunday’s race.
Enable will obviously be a huge danger but the six-year old was fairly beaten in the race last October and the ground could level the playing field. Mogul looks the potential each way value but on ratings winning the Arc looks beyond the Aidan O’Brien trained runner.
Sottsass was third a year ago and connections immediately targeted the Arc again and were confident the horse could go two places better. However, the ground has gone against the four year-old colt who doesn’t get the weight-for-age allowance. In Swoop is more about potential than proven form on the track.
Stradivarius is a few pounds behind Enable on ratings but the testing ground can negate the difference. After Sunday’s race Caracalla may not be the only horse to have won a Post War Arc and Gold Cup because Stradivarius has the profile to join that very exclusive club.