THE world’s best thoroughbreds, ridden by leading international jockeys, will gather at Chantilly, France, on October 1 and 2 for the 95th Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the most prestigious race on flat racing calendar.
It features a first-class card of 15 races, of which nine are Group 1.
The traditional venue, Longchamp racecourse in Paris, is being renovated and will reopen only in September, 2017. Chantilly is a historic and charming racecourse situated in the heart of France’s racing cradle.
Arc is a highlight in the Epiqe Series, an elite tour that includes 14 major flat and trotting races in France. Arc is the final leg and will crown the champion.
Qatar became a part of the greatest race meeting in 2007. The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club has a partnership agreement with the France Galop running into 2022.
The event, however, lost some sheen this time with one of the favourites, La Cressonniere, pulling out injured.
Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said the winner of the French versions of the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks had a “problem”.
“We don’t know exactly what it is,” he said. “She has to have an examination. The problem is towards the back.”
Winner of all her eight starts, La Cressonniere was set to play a major part in Europe’s top all-aged race.
Once news emerged of her injury, bookmakers shortened Postponed, who has headed the betting ever since his International Stakes triumph in August, to around 2-1.
Irish trainer Dermot Weld, who like Rouget has yet to win the Arc, is mulling over whether to run his Epsom and Irish Derby victor Harzand.
Weld is also debating over whether to pitch in stable-mate Fascinating Rock, last year’s Champions Stakes winner.
Aidan O’Brien could be three-handed with Found, runner-up to Almanzor in the Irish Champion, Order of St George and Highland Reel.
Success, meanwhile, in Europe’s richest race with €5m in prize money would cap a perfect season for Postponed, who has already won three Group 1s.
Japan’s quest to finally win the race after a series of agonising near misses hinge on Makahiki, a top-priced 7-1 third favourite.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s leading construction group Al Emadi Enterprises will continue to associate with Group 1 races at the event.