Dubai: Several Dubai-owned horses head to Longchamp racecourse in France on Sunday to challenge for some of the most prestigious prizes on offer in a block buster eight-race card that is showcased by the Prix de l’Arc de Trimophe, the jewel in Europe’s thoroughbred racing crown.
European racing is rich in quality and prestige but the Arc, which is referred to in French as ‘Ce n’est pas une course, c’est un monument’ — ‘It’s not a race, it’s a monument’, eclipses them all.
While Godolphin, the Dubai-owned stable with headquarters in Newmarket, England, and Dubai, chase a fourth win the 2,400 metre contest with Persian King, having previously triumphed with Lammtarra (1995), Sakhee (2001), Marienbard (2002), Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance is seeking a maiden victory with Raabihah.
Triple Group 1 winner and 2019 Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Persian King represents eight-time Arc-winning French handler Andre Fabre.
The mount of Mickael Barzalona, who is also looking to win the great race for the first time, has the credentials for the Arc. However, a question mark remains on him staying the trip.
Sheikh Hamdan’s filly is an interesting contender as she benefits from a big weight advantage, which could play a part in a race of depth and quality.
Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget and the mount of Maxime Guyon, both of whom have not won the Arc, Raabihah comes into the race having run two good races including when half-length fourth in a bunched finish to the Prix de Diane (G1).
Obviously both Raabihah and Persian King will need to run the best race of their life to win with a 15-horse field high in quality.
Enable, John Gosden’s Queen of the Flat for the last three years, eyes a historic third success in the European showpiece having won in 2017 and 2018 before going down by a length and a half to Waldgeist 12 months ago.
This is her intended swansong after posting typically impressive wins this year at Ascot and Kempton. She looks a worth and massive favourite to give jockey Frankie Dettori a seventh Arc success.
Racecard at Longchamp
3.15pm Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Group 1) 7f
3.50pm Prix Marcel Boussac — Criterium des Pouliches (Group 1) 1m
5.05pm Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Group 1) 1m4f
5.50pm Prix de l’Opera Longines (Group 1) 1m2f
6.25pm Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines (Group 1) 5f
6.50pm Prix de la Foret (Group 1) 7f
7.25pm Grand Handicap des Flyers Presente Par RMC 7f