Cry heralds dark Arc hopes

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is just five weeks away and Neil Young pinpoints the contenders to watch in the trials

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the biggest race of the European season, is one of the year's most cryptic puzzles and the first clues are falling into place.

Last week it was announced that Lammtarra would go straight to the race that would give him the rare Derby-King George-Arc treble last completed by Mill Reef in 1971, while on Saturday last year's runner-up, Hernando, signalled his well-being with a second consecutive smooth triumph in Deauville's Prix Gontaut-Biron.

This pair heads the early market for the 1 October Longchamp showpiece, along with last year's winner, Carnegie, and two others in Sheikh Mohammed's ownership, the Irish Derby winner, Winged Love, and the Epsom runner-up, Tamure.

A glance through the roll of recent winners of the race reveals, however, that the Arc introduces a Subotica or Urban Sea, the unheralded winners in 1992 and 1993, much more often that it confirms a Dancing Brave or a Suave Dancer.

This year's winner is probably residing in semi-obscurity somewhere in France, and it is worth recalling that Carnegie was relatively unheard of and unconsidered for the Arc before he ran away with the Prix Niel less than a month before the race.

The average SP of the last 20 Arc winners is over 18-1, more than double the equivalent figure for the Derby (13-2) and over three times that of the King George (9-2), because of the Arc's large fields, lateness in the season and tendency to be run on soggy ground.

Expect the unexpected and scour the ante-post lists in search of progressive or underrated horses before the Longchamp trials on 10 September, the Prix Niel and Prix Vermeille for three-year-olds, and the Prix Foy for older horses.

Carnegie needs to win the Foy convincingly to retain hopes of emulating Ribot and Alleged with their back-to-back Arc wins. He looked as good as ever when beating Luso and Only Royale in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud but then faded tamely in the King George.

Fast ground was blamed for the disappointment, but it could be that Carnegie is not the force of last year and he may be usurped in the market by Sheikh Mohammed's current "second string", Tamure.

His return to the track is overdue, but the subsequent wins of Lammtarra, Presenting and Fahal give his Derby run a solid look. Sunday's Grand Prix de Deauville had been suggested as a possible comeback race for Tamure but the unbeaten Swain will now do duty for the Sheikh there. He is perhaps the most interesting of the darker French three-year-old candidates.

The Arc preparation of this Andre Fabre-trained colt has been unorthodox, his only Group win coming over a mile and threequarters in the Prix du Lys in June. But he was not inconvenienced by the drop back to Deauville's extended mile and a half this month, beating his stablemate Lord Of Appeal with a rusty Richard Of York -25-1 for the Arc -in third.

Now 20-1 for Longchamp, Swain is already very smart and probably capable of better, a comment which also applies to his lightly raced stablemate Dancing Beggar, who was compared to Carnegie by connections earlier in the season.

He finished close up in the Grand Prix de Paris last time and needs to pick up a decent Group race on his imminent return, in order to make the Arc cut, which is decided on prize-money won.

Yet another possible three-year-old contender from Fabre is Bobinski, touted as a potential champion in the spring. An unlucky loser in the Prix Jean Prat, he was then fortunate to stay on his feet in the Grand Prix de Paris when barged into. He may try to emulate his half-brother Saumarez, who used the Prix du Prince d'Orange, a week after the main trials, as a stepping-stone to his 1990 Arc win.

The Grand Prix de Paris winner, Valanour, is as short as 14-1 with one firm, but his owner, the Aga Khan, has a more plausible middle-distance colt in Rifapour. Touted as the leader of the home defence in the Prix du Jockey-Club after smooth defeats of Winged Love and Poliglote in successive spring trials, his down-the-field performance at Chantilly was all the more frustrating as those rivals filled the minor placings behind Celtic Swing. He could return to prominence in the Niel.

The Prix Vermeille is the likely next round in the ongoing Carling/Matiara feud, but the one to look out for is the filly who lost her unbeaten record behind that pair when favourite for the Prix de Diane, Daniel Wildenstein's Muncie.

A daughter of Sadler's Wells, Muncie is bred to stay all day and found the 10 furlongs of the French Oaks on the nippy side. The Vermeille's mile and a half will be much more to her liking and Arc quotes of 25-1 could soon look very generous.

Another Vermeille hope is the progressive Angel In My Heart, who ran away with the Prix de Psyche at Deauville last time. She returns to the seaside track on Sunday for the Prix de la Nonette, and is improving so dramatically she could go to post favourite for the Vermeille.

Angel In My Heart is the second string of her owner, Stavros Niarchos, behind Hernando, who would be the most popular winner of all following the death of his former handler, Francois Boutin.

Now with John Hammond, Hernando was beaten only a short neck in last year's Arc and was impressive on Saturday, his first run for three months. However, his family is noted for inconsistency and he was receiving 9lb from the runner up, Freedom Cry.

Indeed, at current prices it is Freedom Cry who offers the outstanding bet for value seekers. His Deauville form is arguably the best shown by a French horse over middle distances this season, and as this four-year- old has had only eight career runs he may be capable of better still.

A cosy defeat of Alderbrook over 1m 3f on soft ground at Baden Baden in May suggests he will have no problem with the Arc conditions, despite his miler's pedigree, and he returns to Germany for his final tune-up, at Frankfurt on 17 September.

Trained by Fabre for Wildenstein, Freedom Cry will be coupled with Muncie if both line up on the day, so it is advisable to take the current British odds of 25-1, which are as difficult to understand as to resist.

Ladbrokes: 5-1 Lammtarra, 10-1 Hernando, Pure Grain, Carnegie, 14-1 Tamure, Winged Love, 16-1 Sunshack, 20-1 Lando, Strategic Choice, Swain, Valanour, 25-1 Freedom Cry, Luso, Millkom, Monsun, Muncie, Only Royale, Poliglote, Richard Of York, Rifapour, Singspiel, Spectrum, Song Of Tara, 33-1 others.

Coral: 6-1 Lammtarra, 12-1 Carnegie, Winged Love, 14-1 Hernando, 16-1 Pure Grain, Tamure, 20-1 Angel In My Heart, Carling, Swain, Strategic Choice, 25-1 Freedom Cry, Muncie, Richard Of York, Rifapour, Sunshack, 33 Bobinski, Larroche, Song Of Tara, 40-1 others

A R Dennis: 5-1 Lammtarra, 8-1 Carnegie, 10-1 Hernando, Tamure, 12-1 Winged Love, 14-1 Pure Grain, Valanour, 16-1 Presenting, Sunshack, 20- 1 Swain, 25-1 Angel In My Heart, Diamond Mix, Lando, Luso, Strategic Choice, 33-1 others.

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?