There is nothing quite like Arc day. I was fortunate enough to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice on Hurricane Run and then Dylan Thomas but the whole day is so special.
Every race matters and every race is from out of the top draw. Added to that, there are so many extra touches such as the music they play between races and when you win that helps the day stand out. To win any race on Arc day is magical and to win the big one is just the best feeling.
Hurricane Run was trained by the maestro Andre Fabre and to be riding for him was an honour, especially in the Arc. He was such a great man to ride for and it made it extra special.
The race unfolded so well for me that day. I was lucky as I got a dream run through down on the rail, but I was riding a monster of a horse who would get you out of trouble if you were in trouble anyway. He just strode around there and riding for Fabre gives you that confidence anyway. He was a brilliant horse. It was such a good day.
It was different with Dylan Thomas. He came with a brilliant run to win but he had to survive a stewards’ inquiry for interference, which was a headache. Luckily we kept the race.
Interference is something the riders this weekend will have to bear in mind as the French rules are different to in Britain and Ireland. I actually like the rules as you know that if you made a mistake and hamper a horse you’ll be punished. The rules are straight and clear, unlike over here. I think if you interfere with another horse you should be placed behind the horse you interfere with like in France or America.
Hopefully they’ll be no need for the stewards to step in after the Arc (3.05) this year and I have a strong suspicion we’re going to see an upset.
Enable is the odds-on favourite and the one everyone is afraid of, but I love the chances of Winter taking the race for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
Winter is one tough filly and as hard as nails. Enable has been running all year whereas Winter had a break between Royal Ascot and Goodwood so she’s much fresher.
I’m pretty sure she’ll stay too. When she ran at Goodwood in the Nassau Stakes she looked like she’d get further. I thought she was going to get beaten and she kept going and finding more each time. That to me says she’ll stay the mile and a half at Chantilly.
Enable has been on the go all year. People are saying she’s not had a hard race at York but it was a Group 1 race and she had to have a hard race that day. She’s travelled, she run in the Oaks, Irish Oaks and a King George – she’s done a hell of a lot already this season for a three-year-old filly – so I really do think there could be an upset in the race this year.
Of the others, I like Order Of St George as well and I can see him being there or thereabouts as well. He’s tough, he’s talented and he stays very well. He was impressive at the Curragh last time in the Irish St Leger and I think that means he’ll run well here.
Sticking with Aidan O’Brien is almost certainly the best thing to do on Arc day. He’s got the strongest hand and he’s the man to focus on.
I’m excited about seeing Happily take on the colts in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (1.45). They tell me she’s very, very good and more than up to beating these boys. Added to that, I’m not convinced the colts are that strong this season and Aidan tends to know what he has. He’s not going to be pitching her into a race against the colts unless she can win.
Magical represents Aidan in the Prix Marcel Boussac (1.10) and she is flying at home, by all accounts. I think there’s plenty of reasons to think it will be a magical, memorable afternoon for Ballydoyle.