Reflection on The Arc

October 7th, 2015 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

There has been a lot of comment and reflection on Sunday’s Arc in the last few days, especially in relation to Treve and the reasons for her defeat. Much of the criticism has been aimed at her rider Thierry Jarnet, suggesting that he forfeited too much ground by taking a wide course.

For me the answer is far simpler. Yes, she might have been better suited to cover even though she adopted a similar route when surging away with the Prix Vermeille, but to my eyes she was unhappy on the quick ground from the outset. Excuses of a physical nature were made when she was beaten at Royal Ascot last season – and that was on ground described as good to firm. The ground was given as good when she won last year’s Arc, having been soft the year before, but according to reports from those who walked the course on Sunday morning – including commentator Simon Holt and Mick Fitzgerald – there was very little ‘good’ underfoot.

The other explanantion is that Golden Horn is quite simply the better horse. There has never been more than a pound or two behind Treve and an in-form Flintshire, and that was again the case on Sunday. Golden Horn is incredibly tough – that is the key to him – and I was entirely wrong to think that this would be a bridge too far. He is an exception to the rule, and Frankie Dettori would not have said that he is ‘the best horse I have ever ridden’ without giving the matter a great deal of thought.

We are likely to get the chance to see Golden Horn again at the Breeders’ Cup, for which he is justifiably a shade of odds-on. As for last Sunday, it is my view that the best horse won.

By the way I was relieved to read that there was a valid excuse for the poor run of Antonoe in the Prix Marcel Boussac. Pascal Bary’s filly apparently sustained a hairline fracture to her pelvis but the trainer says she should be back in action next spring, with the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches as her main target.

I am travelling to Newmarket this weekend, so you can hear my thoughts for a great day’s action by ringing my line on 0906 150 1555. This will be updated on Friday morning, covering both the Friday and Saturday cards.