One such morsel is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the richest horse race on the planet with a prize pool of a whopping €5 million – roughly a quarter of what the UK will need to pay to leave the single market!
Not only that, the Arc is the crowning ground for the best horses on the planet – former winners include Lammtarra, Hurricane Run and Found, amongst many other top-notch thoroughbreds.
This year, as last, the Arc will be run at Chantilly, the home of that thick cream that renders most incapacitated after enjoying a choux bun or two, as opposed to its normal home of Longchamp, which is currently being given a spruce up in time for the 2018 edition of the race.
For those readers who enjoy a flutter or two, the bookmakers have made Enable, a horse from the John Gosden yard, a pretty resounding favourite with 11/10 the very best price available and odds-on the norm with most sportsbooks.
Whenever you see an odds-on fancy, especially in a big race like this, you might think that victory for that particular horse is inevitable. So is that case for Enable in the 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe? Let’s take a look at the pick of the field in more detail:
Enable – 11/10
Enable has won four Group 1 races on the spin in 2017 – and the Arc would be the icing on an already particularly appetising cake.
As a proven performer over the 12f distance, the three-year-old ticks the main box when seeking out an Arc winner, and if the rain does come on Sunday as expected then that won’t faze the soft ground winner.
It has been a busy season for Gosden’s filly, and with this being her first competitive start on international soil there are obvious question marks about how well she will travel.
But with the fairer sex enjoying the best of the Arc in recent years – five of the last six winners have be female, and with handy draw in stall two next to the rail, Enable appears to be worthy of her short price with the books.
If you are having a flutter on the Arc and get even money or better on the favourite, that’s a perfect way to spend the rainy day fund with the weekend forecast looking rather mixed.
Ulysses – 8/1
Plonked next to Enable in stall one is Ulysses, a four-year-old trained by Sir Michael Stoute. This is a horse that has both delighted and disappointed in 2017, with fantastic performances to win the Juddmonte International and Coral-Eclipse backed by a horror run in the Prince of Wales Stakes in which he finished third despite being well fancied.
Ulysses has also been beaten by Enable this term in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes – there’s no shame in that – but it was a comprehensive four-and-a-half length loss that perhaps highlighted the gulf in class between these two horses.
This Irish raider hasn’t ran over 12f in nearly a year, and you wonder if the step up in trip – and the quality of opposition – will prove too much for a willing but perhaps overmatched four-year-old.
Winter – 9/1
Of all those priced at double figures (or as near as damn it), Winter is arguably the one that appeals the most.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien enjoyed a 1-2-3 finish in this race last year, and he’s been around the block long enough to know whether his steed can make the step up to 12f or not – she’s never gone off at that mark before.
The three-year-old has romped home in four Group 1 outings this season, including both the UK and Irish 1000 Guineas, and with Ryan Moore back in the saddle this really is a winning combination that has delivered on the big stage before.
Indeed, the only concession is that question mark over the trip, but rest assured Winter is a quality performer who should not be 9/1 in any field.
Order of St George – 12/1
Another of O’Brien’s entries, Order of St George will need to overcome some compelling trends if he is to claim the honours on Sunday.
Only a pair of five-year-olds have taken the Arc title in nearly 30 years, and as mentioned only one colt has crossed the line first in the last six renewals of this race: that’s two rather alarming statistics going against his backers.
He is a classy sort, and he proved that by romping home in the Irish St Leger, but you actually have to go way back to 2015 to see the last time that Order of St George won at an odds-against price. Most of his eye-catching performances have come in low quality fields, and he is perhaps one to avoid here.