Racing at Chantilly is something different, the backdrop of a chateau in stark contrast to the hay bales and cattle herds we see at various Irish tracks, and if you haven't been to Arc day it is worth the trip to take in the swagger of the Parisian fashionistas alone. Most of those racegoers are of the once-a-year variety and may not be aware of the Irish - or Ballydoyle - invasion afoot with Aidan O'Brien having seven possible runners in Sunday's race.
O'Brien battalion unlikely to trouble Enable
Last year aside, the Arc hasn't been the kindest race to O'Brien, his horses tending to tail off a little after hard seasons, and this year's team seems more about numbers than a standout contender. Winter has the most upside but I remain to be convinced that she will run, the Prix De L'Opera and Champion Stakes are both sensible alternatives at a trip she is proven over, while Order Of St George probably lacks the toe for this trip for all that he has place possibilities.
Highland Reel is unlikely to have his favoured fast ground, the going described as souple or soft earlier today, and it might be a case that his bigger autumn targets are outside continental Europe; he hasn't run since the King George after all and may need this. Capri won the Leger in a good time but comes from a decent rather than better crop of three-year-old colts and like Order Of St George may struggle for pace over this distance while Cliffs Of Moher has become a bit disappointing for all that he had a troubled run last time.
This revolves around Enable and she deserves to be odds-on given her demolition job in the King George with Ulysses franking the form since. That one probably improved again in winning at York but his high cruising speed means 10 rather than 12 furlongs is his ideal trip, especially with cut in the ground. Saying something original about Enable is difficult; she is a brilliant filly and will be very hard to beat, but this is a horse race after all at the end of a long season for her.
Cloth Of Stars looks the pick of home contingent
The betting suggests that the French horses are really ordinary bunch in 2017 with Brametot the shortest of their number around 15.014/1. That will likely prove the case but I would be fairly confident that Cloth Of Stars is the best of them yet he can be backed at prices north of 32.031/1. He was climbing the ranks earlier in the season, winning at all three group race grades, culminating in the Prix Ganay where he had Zarak and Silverwave behind.
Given the traditional French preparation for the Arc afterwards, he had a mid-summer break before returning in the Prix Foy where he shaped like the best horse behind Dschingis Secret, travelling well in rear, not getting a clear run and given an easy time in the finish. There is a strong chance he's not good enough but his Ganay win puts him within hailing distance of the places at least and there is more to come judging on last time. A big field could really suit as he looks a horse in need of cover while consistency is his strong suit; his only bad run in 12 starts came in last year's Epsom Derby. He's worth backing small in the win and place though it might pay to wait until Sunday when there could be four places on offer.
Most of the races on the Arc undercard look murky at this stage but Signs Of Blessing is overpriced in the Abbaye at 7/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook. He was exceptional on the clock in his first run of the year at Deauville, producing a figure superior to anything the favourite Marsha has ever done, before having excuses the next twice. He had a bad experience in the stables at Royal Ascot while the ground was also too quick before he went much too hard in front behind Brando in the Prix Maurice de Gheest. Battaash is a meaningful rival on his Goodwood romp but was a let-down last time while Signs Of Blessing got back on track on his most recent outing.
Back Cloth Of Stars at 32.031/1 to win the Arc De Triomphe
Back Cloth Of Stars at 6.411/2 to place in the Arc De Triomphe
Back Signs of Blessing at 7/1 to win the Prix De L'Abbaye with the Sportsbook