How to bet the Arc at Chantilly on TwinSpires

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

October 2nd, 2016

Befitting one of the world’s elite races, Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) is loaded with proper contenders. You can make a case for at least half of the 16-horse field, and there’s no shortage of potential value plays.

It’s easy to succumb to analysis paralysis after examining the “Big 5” – streaking favorite Postponed; classic-winning three-year-olds Makahiki and Harzand; and the high-class Found and New Bay taking their second crack at the Arc. Never mind obsessing over the differences between the Arc’s historic home of Longchamp, and its temporary host Chantilly, and whether post positions matter.

At a certain point when reasoning can take you only so far, past information overload, it boils down to an instinct or gut-level feeling. Although Postponed comes across as bombproof on paper, I’m inclined to think he’ll have more of a battle on his hands in the Arc. He’s a warrior, but will he meet his match?

The Arc’s overall trends are in favor of the three-year-olds against their elders, partly thanks to the generous weight concession. Chances are Postponed’s stiffest challenge will come from this demographic group.

Of the six sophomores in the Arc, one stands out to me as offering the combination of an impeccable record and an ideal preparation: Japanese Derby (G1) winner Makahiki, who proved himself over the Arc course and distance with a cozy prep win in the Prix Niel (G2). The Deep Impact colt lost a shoe along the way, but it didn’t slow him down. 

Jockey Christophe Lemaire is striking a pretty confident tone that he could be the one to give Japan its long-sought breakthrough in this race. Makahiki is a calm, unflappable customer who can be placed anywhere, travels well, and delivers a potent burst of speed on a dime. Connections are adamant that he’ll handle some give in the ground with no difficulty, although he won’t want a bog.

The minimalist wagering strategy is to bet Makahiki (#14, 9-2) to win and place.

As far as the exotics go, Postponed (#2, 2-1) and New Bay (#1, 8-1) are the other prime win contenders you may want to use on top in some of your permutations. As a perennial runner-up, Found (#10, 5-1) is probably best used underneath, but if you want to splurge and include her in the win slot, I wouldn’t dissuade you. Similarly, Harzand (#11, 6-1) strikes me as more of a place chance.

If you’re looking for a longshot, either for a flyer or for exotics purposes, I think Order of St George (#8, 15-1) is very intriguing as a “wildcard.” Going back to gut instincts, there’s something about the Ascot Gold Cup (G1) winner that makes me think he won’t be outpaced here, especially if the ground ends up being a little softer after the weekend rain. Frankie Dettori is going to give him every chance, and I can see him being involved at the finish.

For total bombs, I wouldn’t be shocked if #6 The Grey Gatsby (50-1) or #5 One Foot in Heaven (40-1) outperformed their odds.

Photo by Ron Flatter