Rivals line up to take on Enable in next week's Arc

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Following last weekend’s ‘ Arc Trial’s Day ‘ at Chantilly the outcome of Europe’s most valuable race on Sunday 1st October was beginning to look something of a one-horse-race as credible rivals to John Gosden’s outstanding filly Enable were unable to produce the hoped-for performance of a genuine contender . Prix Vermeille winner Bateel is unlikely to run in the Qatar-sponsored contest while German colt Dschingis Secret hardly set the world alight when beating the Godolphin-owned Cloth Of Gold in the Group 2 Prix Foy.

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It was only the victory of Cracksman in the Prix Niel that smacked as a genuine Arc trial, that was until owner Anthony Oppenheimer virtually ruled the race out with a view to saving the talented son of Frankel for an ambitious campaign next season. Bookmakers took the opportunity to shorten the triple Oaks winner into odds-on for the race the stable won with Golden Horn two years ago but during the last few days new life has been breathed into France’s greatest horserace courtesy of Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien.

Victorious with Workforce in 2010 Stoute is set to give Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International hero Ulysses the green light after the four-year-old impressed when exercising on the Al Bahathri Polytrack at the weekend despite the son of Galileo having to make up the four and a half lengths beaten by Enable in Ascot’s King George. The general 8-1 chance has improved since that defeat according to connections who are keen to renew rivalry with the filly.

Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, responsible for an unprecedented 1-2-3 in last year’s race, could be four-handed on this occasion with Highland Reel and Order Of St George ( second and third in 2016 ) expected to be joined by both dual Guineas winner Winter and Capri who followed up his Irish Derby success with a hard-fought half length win over Stoute’s Crystal Ocean in last Saturday’s William Hill St Leger.

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Speaking on Monday the master of Ballydoyle said: “ The Arc is definitely something we’re thinking about for Winter. We’ll have to make a decision on Order Of St George soon. It’s getting near the quarantine time for Melbourne so we’ll need to make up our minds. Highland Reel has the option of the Arc too, having run so well in the race last year. Capri was a good winner of what looked a very good St Leger to me. We’ll see how he comes out of the race and what he’s telling us over the next while, but the Arc is definitely a possible for him this season.”

Whether O’Brien is capable of repeating last year’s outstanding feat is doubtful but if it wasn’t for a certain Enable few would bet against it.

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