Racing: Sulamani ready to steal the Arc light

If recent history is a guide, the winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe will be giving the Longchamp turf a test gallop in one of today's three trials. In the past 10 years seven Arc winners and 12 of the placed horses have finished in the first three in either the Prix Niel, Foy or Vermeille.

If recent history is a guide, the winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe will be giving the Longchamp turf a test gallop in one of today's three trials. In the past 10 years seven Arc winners and 12 of the placed horses have finished in the first three in either the Prix Niel, Foy or Vermeille.

Outstandingly the best guide in the period has been the Niel, for three-year-old males, which has spotlighted six of the last eight Arc heroes: Sinndar, Montjeu, Sagamix, Helissio and Carnegie, who all won it, and Peintre Celebre, an unlucky second. The clash of Europe's premier Derby winners has now been deferred to the big day three weeks' hence with the late defection of Epsom and Curragh hero High Chaparral, leaving the Chantilly victor, Pascal Bary-trained Sulamani, with a simple task.

The Foy, for four-year-olds and older, has produced only Subotica to take an Arc in the past decade. Aquarelliste, runner-up to Sakhee in last year's big race, faces five in her first test since her fourth behind Golan in the King George in July. Her compatriot Anabaa Blue and Italian raider Falbrav should provide the strongest opposition.

As a Group One contest the Vermeille, for three-year-old fillies, is an end in itself. The last to use it as an Arc springboard was Three Troikas in 1979. Progressive Albanova, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, and Sulk (John Gosden) challenge from Britain, with the home defence headed by the first three in the French Oaks: Bright Sky, Dance Routine and Ana Marie.

In Ireland this afternoon unbeaten Aidan O'Brien-trained Van Nistelrooy, one of the market leaders for next year's 2,000 Guineas, will be going for his fourth straight win in the National Stakes at the Curragh, accompanied by Ballydoyle stablemate Spartacus.

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