Seven longshots to consider on 2022 Arc Day

October 1st, 2022

Amid all the leading lights on Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) card at ParisLongchamp, there could be a few about to step out of the shadows.

Very soft going on Saturday’s card was no hindrance to the favorites who won four of the five Group stakes on Arc Eve. Odds-on Kyprios ran away with the Prix du Cadran (G1), Sea La Rosa prevailed in the Prix de Royallieu (G1), Anmaat toughed it out in the Prix Dollar (G2), and Erevann rode the rail to hold off The Revenant in a super-formful Prix Daniel Wildenstein (G2). Yet even so, some prices kept sneaking into the frame, and the 13-1 Souzak toppled Aidan O’Brien hotpot Denmark in the juvenile race.

More rain is in the forecast overnight and into Sunday, however, and that arguably increases the unpredictability factor for Arc Day. With that possibility in mind, here’s a longshot for each Group 1 on the undercard, and two with varying degrees of value in the Arc itself.

Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) – Race 1 (8:15 a.m. ET)

#7 Pivotal Trigger (12-1) is well suited to these conditions – about seven furlongs on testing ground. The Jessica Harrington trainee broke his maiden in front-running fashion on soft ground at Galway, beating an odds-on favorite who had smart debut form (and went on to win next out). Pivotal Trigger next stepped up to the Prix des Chenes (G3), over a metric mile on this course, and couldn’t quite hold onto the lead, grudgingly succumbing to Kubrick and Aidan O’Brien’s Adelaide River. Bred to go much further with maturity, the son of Pivotal and Group 1-winning stayer Allegretto might find this trip better at this stage of life. He’ll come under pressure a long way out, but he churns on, making him a live outsider in what could be a slugfest for two-year-olds.

Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) – Race 2 (8:50 a.m. ET)

#6 Gan Teorainn (20-1) will likely go off at a bigger price than her morning line, reflecting her blotchy, even uninspiring, record. Yet she has a stealthy look for Jim Bolger. The stoutly-bred filly needed a mile to break her maiden, on yielding ground, at a stiff track like Naas. Hence it was no surprise that she was outpaced by sharper types on the cutback, and class hike, in the Debutante (G2) and Moyglare Stud (G1). Gan Teorainn came a lot closer in the Weld Park (G3), battling for a half-length second at 28-1. That much improved effort, over the same seven-furlong trip at the Curragh as her prior stakes flops, is a hint that she’s on the upswing. If so, Gan Teorainn is eligible to outperform her odds, now that she finally gets another opportunity at about a mile. Note that freshman sire Saxon Warrior’s top performer so far, Victoria Road, won the about nine-furlong Prix de Conde (G3).

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) – Race 4 (10:05 a.m. ET)

Of the top-tier win contenders, #17 Onesto (10-1) offers perhaps the best value, if the morning-line odds hold. Forgive his dead-heat fifth behind Vadeni in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) (G1), where post 14 was an albatross. Since then, Onesto has turned in two terrific efforts. The royally-bred son of Frankel rallied to take the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) over the Arc course and distance on Bastille Day, and resumed from a freshening to miss narrowly to Luxembourg in the Irish Champion (G1). Just as Arc favorite Luxembourg has every right to move forward here, so does Onesto – at possibly three times the price.

A swing-for-the-fences type can come in handy in the Arc, and #13 Grand Glory (50-1) is among those capable of hitting the board at a massive price. She came within a nose of winning the Prix de l’Opera (G1) on heavy going on 2021 Arc Day, and her fine fifth (of 18) in last fall’s Japan Cup (G1) shows that she can hold her own versus top males at this distance. Grand Glory dominated her first two outings this season, both at this track, before her third to globetrotter State of Rest in a paceless Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot. Her prep in the Prix Vermeille (G1) looks bad on paper, but the race shape totally favored the pacesetter. Trainer Gianluca Bietolini is drawing a line through it, and we’re likely to see a different Grand Glory here. If at her peak, and others fail to hit theirs, Grand Glory could get a slice. Females have a propensity to factor in this race, and she’s the only other member of that demographic aside from the well-credentialed Alpinista.

Prix de l’Opera (G1) – Race 5 (10:50 a.m. ET)

#6 Agave (20-1) has lost a lot of luster since the spring, but sooner or later, the Juddmonte blueblood is likely going to remind everyone that she’s still a player. By Dubawi and out of a half-sister to two-time Arc legend Enable, Agave was undefeated through her first three starts, capped by the Prix Penelope (G3). The Andre Fabre trainee was actually the odds-on favorite when taking on colts in the Prix Greffulhe (G2), only to be swept aside in that classic trial by Onesto – not a bad way to lose your perfect mark, in hindsight. Yet nothing’s gone right for her since. Fourth behind Opera favorite Nashwa in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1), Agave was a frustrating third with a troubled trip in the Prix de la Nonette (G2). She tried about 1 1/2 miles in the Prix Vermeille, but like Grand Glory, was done no favors by the way the race unfolded. Back down to around her usual distance, and due for a bit of luck, Agave might get involved again. She picks up a new rider in Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, an ace in Germany.

Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (G1) – Race 6 (11:25 a.m. ET)

Going hard early, on potentially desperate ground, could turn this dash into a lottery. I was very intrigued by #9 Tees Spirit (12-1), whose Tipperary form intersects extremely well with the Flying Five (G1), until the amount of rain might have gone against him. I still suspect that the Flying Five form is the way to go, although that leaves several options. The sneakiest is #2 Castle Star (20-1), who has been playing catch-up from a spring setback. One of Ireland’s prominent juveniles of 2021, the Fozzy Stack pupil concluded his productive campaign with a bold second to Perfect Power in the Middle Park (G1). Castle Star wasn’t seen again until July, when a less-than-cranked fifth in the Sapphire (G2). He was set for the six-furlong Haydock Sprint Cup (G1), but scratched when the course was too firm. Rerouted to the Flying Five, Castle Star was off a beat slow and checked in eighth of 19. The Starspangledbanner colt is entitled to do better, especially in conditions that play to his strengths.

Prix de la Foret (G1) – Race 7 (12 p.m. ET)

#6 Malavath (10-1) crossed the wire just a head and short neck behind Tenebrism when they were second and fourth, respectively, in the Prix Rothschild (G1). Both fillies should prosper on the cutback to about seven furlongs, although Malavath has more to prove and therefore a higher price. The near-misser in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Malavath returned triumphant in the Prix Imprudence (G3) at this trip on heavy going. She tried Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas (G1), winding up 10th, and promptly shortened up for the Prix du Palais-Royal (G3) at the Foret course and distance. It’s a measure of her reputation that she went off as the slight second choice versus older males, in late May. Unfortunately, she ran a flat fifth and turned out to be in season. Malavath was freshened ahead of her useful effort in the Rothschild, and she could be poised for a move forward.

I feel obliged to say you can make a similar case for #5 Goldistyle (15-1), daughter of the great Goldikova, who collared Malavath for third in the Rothschild. She can’t be judged for her subsequent seventh in the Prix du Moulin (G1), where she was compromised by the stricken Coroebus. Conditions could favor Malavath, though, in the rematch.