Leading Lights Congregate In Paris

Arc Meeting Live On Tellytrack

Al Kazeem

Al Kazeem

The strength of the field likely to assemble for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris this Sunday was underlined when the respected Timeform organisation suggested the 2013 renewal could be a match for any in its 93-year history.

The top nine horses in the betting have all won at least one Group One or Grade One event and have 21 victories at the highest level between them. At bigger prices, meanwhile, Camelot, last year’s Derby winner, and Trading Leather, the winner of this year’s Irish Derby, are also possible runners.

Timeform has been rating horses since the 1940s and David Johnson, the publication’s Flat editor, believes this year’s Arc could be a match for the famous race in 1986, when Dancing Brave beat Bering, Triptych and Shahrastani, with two more previous Group One winners in Shardari and Darara fifth and sixth.

“There isn’t a horse in this year’s field that had shown the outstanding merit earlier in the season that the likes of Dancing Brave and Shahrastani had,” Johnson said on Wednesday. But in terms of strength in depth, if all of the possible runners stand their ground, it looks like being at least as strong a race as there has ever been.”

The first six home in Dancing Brave’s Arc had an average Timeform rating of 129.1 going into the race. The six top-rated horses engaged in this year’s race have an average rating of 129, headed by Novellist, the King George winner, on 132. Orfevre, who won the Japanese Triple Crown last season before throwing away what looked like certain victory at Longchamp by drifting across the course, is next on 130 with Treve, last Sunday’s impressive Prix Vermeille winner, on 129.

In all there are nine possible runners in the race currently rated 125 or higher by Timeform, including Camelot, who started favourite in Paris last year but can be backed at 50-1 this time around. In part that price reflects the fact that he is not certain to run but it is also a measure of the strength of the opposition that he will face if he does

Meanwhile, trainer Aidan O’Brien has confirmed that his St Leger winner Leading Light will be supplemented for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

The colt was victorious twice over a mile and a quarter earlier in the season before stepping up to two miles to take the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in June. His trainer then dropped him in distance to a mile and three-quarters to claim his Classic victory at Doncaster.

Leading Light will have to demonstrate his versatility once again when he faces the best of Europe and beyond over a mile and a half this weekend.

O’Brien told At The Races: “The four [Arc] horses are Ruler Of The World, Leading Light, Camelot and Kingsbarns. I think we’re going to supplement the Leger horse and then obviously we’ll get closer to the weekend [before knowing] about ground [conditions] because Camelot would only run if it was good or better.

“[Leading Light] obviously hasn’t done a lot [since Doncaster]. It’s not that long ago but everything he’s done we’ve been happy with.”

Roger Charlton’s Al Kazeem also remains on target for Europe’s premier middle-distance race after he pleased his trainer in a gallop with the Prix de l’Opera hope Thistle Bird over the weekend.

“They both worked well on Saturday morning over eight furlongs on our summer gallops, which are in fantastic condition,” the Beckhampton trainer revealed on his website.

“Although Al Kazeem has had some tough races and on ground faster than he would have preferred, from what I can see he still retains his enthusiasm and his speed figures compared well on Saturday morning with his work before both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Eclipse.

“The Arc will be his seventh race of the season but only his 15th race spread over four seasons. It is never an exact science to know whether a horse has gone over the top or is about to produce another high-class performance but the vibes are good.

“There is no disputing that this year’s race is going to be contested by the best horses in Europe and two very smart colts from Japan. His class has enabled him to win his Group One races over 10 furlongs but I also think he is capable of excelling over 12 furlongs as he did in the Jockey Club Stakes.”

Phumelela’s Vee Moodley confirmed that the final fields for the meeting would be available 48 hours in advance of the meeting and Tellytrack (Dstv 239) would cover every race on the card.

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