Racing: Old problem for the young bucks
Arc de Triomphe: History and experience point to local hero Swain seeing off rivals and preserving generation gap; Sue Montgomery predicts a home success in today's French showpiece
Sunday 06 October 1996
History decrees that when in France, side with the locals. British horses do, of course, win the Arc - and six raiders will be trying this time - but not that often. If you acknowledge last year's victor, the Dubai- based Lammtarra, as one of ours, he was only the third, after Carroll House in 1989 and Dancing Brave 10 years ago, from 60 contenders in the past decade.
And at risk of being over- simplistic, recent records show the winner should have scored last time out. In the last 10 years, only Subotica has failed to meet this criterion. The one horse who fits these requirements, and has proven Group One form to his credit, is Swain.
The colt's trainer, Andre Fabre, knows precisely what it takes to win Europe's premier middle-distance contest, having sent out Trempolino to win in 1987 and Carnegie two years ago. The latter was ridden by today's pilot Thierry Jarnet, who also brought Subotica home.
Swain, a son of Nashwan, proved he can handle the hurly-burly that today's contest inevitably produces when a close third as an inexperienced horse last year. He has been aimed at a repeat bid ever since and is now a seasoned campaigner, and physically twice the individual he was 12 months ago.
Fabre has sent him down the traditional French Arc route by giving him a short break after his summer programme, highlighted by a dogged defeat of Singspiel in the Coronation Cup.
He failed to get the run of the race when going down by a length to Helissio at Saint-Cloud at the end of June, and then outmanoeuvred Pentire in a slowly run Prix Foy last month. The soft going will suit him, and enable him to confirm the form with Pentire.
If a three-year-old star is to emerge from the race, the Prix Niel could provide the key. The form of the winner, Helissio, makes him a worthy favourite and he won by 10 lengths on the soft ground in the spring, but the only blot on his copybook came when he pulled Dominic Boeuf's arms out in the French Derby, and although he seems a reformed character in Olivier Peslier's hands, that was the only previous occasion he has had to race in a big field. Darazari, a progressive son of Sadler's Wells, was a most eye-catching runner-up in the Niel and it would be no surprise to see him involved in the finish.
The best of the British may be Classic Cliche, the mount of the unstoppable Frankie Dettori. The Gold Cup and St Leger winner lacks that vital turn of foot over 12 furlongs in good conditions, but today's going may blunt the speed of others in the race, and he is a tough competitor who will see out every yard of the struggle. But Walter Swinburn's mount Pilsudski, a Group One winner in Germany last time out, should not be underestimated, and has sound each-way claims.
The Irish, who field Zagreb and Oscar Schindler, have not won since Alleged took his second Arc in 1978. Zagreb looked a world-beater at the Curragh, but the laid-back colt has not run since June and lacks experience.
Latest in Sport
Sky Sports and BT Sport announce Premier League live matches for 2015/16 with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in action
Wimbledon 2015: Dustin Brown knocks Rafael Nadal out of the championship
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
Dustin Brown: Who is the world number 102 who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon?
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...