The Irish 3-year-old Japan (Galileo)’s victory in the Juddmonte International Stakes (Gr1), Wednesday at York, has unexpectedly affected the betting market of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, scheduled in less than 7 weeks at ParisLongchamp. A winner of the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1), at ParisLongchamp over the Arc’s course and distance last July 14th at the expense of the French challenger Slalom, Japan this time defeated the horse regarded as the best European thoroughbred this season, 5-year-old Crystal Ocean (Sea the Stars). Trained by sir Michael Stoute, he pushed the champion mare Enable to the edge at Ascot last time they met, in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr1) at Ascot last month. As an aged male Crystal Ocean was receiving 3lbs from Enable, an aged mare who only beat him by a neck, seizing this Summer Crown of British horseracing for the second time. Because of this weight allowance, however, her rating was still theoretically below her rival’s. In other words – and once again this is pure speculation, but the only way the rating of the top thoroughbreds in the World can be assessed – Crystal Ocean would have beaten Enable had they met on level weights, hence his superior rating in defeat.
Once again, through the same reasoning, even though Crystal Ocean was defeated by his younger foe Japan, by a head only, the weight-for-age allowance plays in favour of the 2nd. He was giving 7lbs to his rival because of the age difference (as opposed to the sex, in the case of Enable). A length at the finish is equivalent to 2lbs in theory, and Crystal Ocean would have beaten Japan by almost three and a half lengths on level weights -theoretically.
The bookmakers immediately reacted by slashing Japan’s odds for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in which he was officially invited after his Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris victory on Bastille day.
Thursday, on the second day of the York meeting, the champion mare Enable (Nathaniel) will bid farewell to her English fans. She’s still the favourite for a third win in the Arc, even though no horse has ever succeded three times since the race was created, 99 years ago. She is getting ready with a tilt at the Yorkshire Oaks (Gr1) on Thursday at York. The race is restricted to females and run over 1m4f, the same distance than the Arc. Only three runners took the challenge, including Magical (Galileo), who was second to Enable in the Eclipse Stakes in July the last time she ran, and Lah Ti Dar (Dubawi), third to Coronet in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr1) last time out. Coronet won last Sunday at Deauville the Darley Prix Romanet (Gr1).
Enable should win, and get ready for a 3rd Arc, an #EnableChallenge bookmakers fear already: the mare is offered at 9/10 only, in front of Japan at 5/1, and Crystal Ocean at 6/1. The winner of the QIPCO Jockey Club (French Derby, Gr1) Sottsass comes after them at 8/1. Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, he’s due to return – for his first trial over 1m4f – on September 15 in the Qatar Prix Niel (Gr2) at ParisLongchamp.
The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is already in play!