Irish winners over Arc weekend have been thin on the ground recently - just three since 2011 - which might have something to do with the establishment of British Champions Day the same year, Irish horses generally doing well at that fixture. Our challenge for the Arc itself is further weakened by Aidan O'Brien lacking a top middle-distance colt all season and Free Eagle is about our main hope.
His participation remains in doubt however, especially given Dermot Weld's affinity with BCD, and there would be doubts about him at 12 furlongs in any case; having travelled best in the Champion Stakes, he didn't find as much as seemed likely even allowing for being badly hampered.
Found seems the leading fancy of the Ballydoyle duo - Tapestry more likely to run elsewhere - but she too has stamina concerns; the race she won on her penultimate start was a crawl while she impressed with how she travelled rather than finished last time.
Much has been made of the going in the run-up to the race and there has been some fine work on how it may impact on the draw by Simon Rowlands but my reading of the forecast as that it will be 'no excuses' going.
Treve should be fine on it though she is best with cut; her 2013 win on soft in this race remains one of the best performances I have seen and looking back through my notes from the day it is worth recalling how many negatives she overcame. Drawn wide, she sweated up, was keen and her jockey made a premature move yet still won five lengths from Orfevre.
She hasn't reached those heights since though her win in the Vermeille suggested another big figure was in the offing and I'm not keen on strongly opposing her. But such in the lot of racing punters that we often oppose the very best horses on price grounds and this is the case here; 2.01/1 is short enough with the going not totally in her favour and a deep field in opposition.
Back over 12 furlongs on decent ground, Golden Horn is the obvious alternative but while connections must be commended for his aggressive campaign, this might be one run too many. It's difficult for Arc winners to dance every dance as he did in the Derby, Eclipse, International and Champion Stakes and while greats like Sea The Stars can manage it, we saw at York that Golden Horn isn't one of those.
Flintshire is one that could run into the frame at a big price as Tony Calvin has pointed out but he's Youmzain-lite rather than one to back to win and New Bay in the same colours is the pick.
He should be unbeaten this season and while his form is not of the level of Treve or Golden Horn, that was true of countless French-trained three-year-old Arc winners coming into the race. He's the one with most scope to improve and has been trained to peak now. Tactics don't seem to matter to him and he is a fair price at 6.05/1.
Away from Longchamp this weekend, the Sun Chariot at Newmarket might be the most forgotten Group 1 of the year but there is one that I give a chance to at a big price. Esoterique sets a good standard and has improved this year, notably when second to both Solow and Muhaarar, and she looks a reasonable favourite; I couldn't put anyone off backing her when the price wars commence Saturday mid-morning.
The ones chasing her up in the market are much less solid. Integral has had a nightmare season, missing races here and there, and the favourite has improved past her. Miss France ran 10lbs below her best last time and is too short even allowing for improvement. Bawina is proven below this level.
Raydara takes the eye at a 25/1 and is worth backing each-way with the Sportsbook. Punters betting Irish three-year-olds in these top fillies' races have been in clover in 2015, the likes of Pleascach, Qualify and notably Legatissimo all winning, and Raydara mixed it with some of the best last year.
She's had a lost season but there were reasons for defeat each time; in season first time out, the trip too far off a break, should have beaten Cougar Mountain with a proper gallop, the ground too soft last time. A mile on decent ground looks her optimum and she might finally get it here and it would be no surprise to see her in the shake-up.
Back New Bay @ 6.05/1 for the Arc
Back Raydara each-way @ 25/1 (Sportsbook) for the Sun Chariot