The field for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Arc de Triomphe comprises the usual high-class cosmopolitan mix, featuring strong challengers from France, Britain, Ireland, Germany and Japan.
Frankie Dettori’s final season in the saddle has seen many memorable moments already, but the Italian superstar can crown those with victory on the Gosdens’ 20-1 Free Wind in Europe’s most prestigious race.
Free Wind will face 14 rivals drawn across Europe and one from Japan as they bid for the winner’s cheque of 3.1million euros. But Frankie admits it will be tough and a place is probably his best hope.
As he prepares for his final ride in the race, Frankie Dettori reflected on a kaleidoscope of memories from three decades of riding in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, labelling his 1995 triumph on Lammtarra as his greatest.
But the Italian would not let the ink dry on that revelation without recalling Golden Horn in 2015 as his best ride in the race widely regarded as the greatest in the world.
Dettori drew a blank on his three mounts on the eve-of-Arc-day card, but from the sanctuary of the weighing room looked back into the race’s archive and extracted the name of Lammtarra.
He recalled: “To win the Arc is every jockey’s dream, and so the best memory of my winners has to be the first and that was Lammtarra. He was inexperienced but very good, and we don’t know how good he might have been.
“But the ride that gave me a lot of personal satisfaction was on Golden Horn. I did something out of the box in that, I went out on my own and it worked to perfection. He was a very good horse, and especially on that day which is a special memory for sure.”
French challengers have dominated the Arc since its inception and the home team is the strongest it has been for several years.
Cracksman colt Ace Impact heads the French challenge and could follow in the footsteps of the last French winner – 2020 hero Sottsass.
But Ace Impact’s stamina at 2400m is not assured and with strong stayers like Westover and Hukum in the field, any stamina chink in his armour will be exposed.
Ralph Beckett-trained Westover has to be respected after a good preparation, though preference is for Hukum who beat him a head in the King George VI at Ascot in July. Trainer Owen Burrows’ charge is a son of Sea The Stars, the 2009 Arc winner.
- The Arc meeting at Longchamp includes seven Group 1 contests and will be screened live on Racing 240 and Gallop TV, with a range of TAB betting pools on all races.
Here’s a short appetiser:
The first is off at 14h15.