For the last Arc in front of the old Longchamp enclosures, it really couldn’t have been any better, an almost final curtain.
The first four home are dripping with quality, with Golden Horn a simply superb racehorse in every way.
And it’s great to see Derby form being franked in such fashion.
A great moment for Frankie Dettori too in what must be the Autumn of a glittering career.
Perhaps the praise for the highly popular Italian was over cooked slightly, but what matter.
All sports indulge in a little over hype at times, and it was certainly a confident, polished and highly competent riding performance.
Less heralded perhaps was Pat Smullen’s master class on Covert Love, but it was every bit as good.
Regretably though there was the all too predictable criticism of Thierry Jarnet after the big one.
Sadly and simply put, the age old media bias against French jockeys reared it’s ugly head yet again.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Arc weekend was that track officials didn’t order watering at Longchamp on Saturday night.
It would have been perfectly understandable had they turned on the sprinklers.
And it wouldn’t have done the main local hopes Treve and New Bay any harm at all.
After nearly every big race in France there are all sorts of hard luck stories advanced.
Certainly the Arc is a race that takes no prisoners, and Free Eagle could have finished closer but for Treve leaning into him.
Found met traffic problems too, though whether by accident or design she was quite a bit off the early pace.
Once you’re in that position everything has to fall into place, and Ryan Moore was easy enough on her after she had been bumped and her chance was gone.
Ten furlongs on slightly easier ground might suit best and seeing that she was trained all year with the Arc in mind she is probably in full bloom just at the moment.
Wherever she runs next – even the Champion Stakes mind – she must not be underestimated.
Yet even had both Free Eagle and Found enjoyed dream runs, it’s highly unlikely they would have troubled Golden Horn who looked different league.
Whatever happened at Leopardstown when he suddenly veered across the track we’ll never know, but he certainly stayed on the straight and narrow this time.
Treve heads into honourable retirement now and she was a bit special, no question about that.
With Golden Horn also off the stage next season as well, we’ll be looking for new heroes.
Andre Fabre’s Make Believe could fit the bill. He broke the track record when bolting home in the Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs.
Last seen when finishing last of five to Gleneagles in the St James’s Palace at the Royal meeting, this was a stunning comeback.
Limato did Henry Candy proud coming second from off the pace.
However Candy’s assertion that it might have been a race too many probably greatly underestimates the winner.
The Richard Hannon team have few equals at keeping flat horses enthusiastic and game no matter how much mileage they have on the clock.
Toormore finished third here, having won in Turkey on his previous outing, and a race in Hong Kong is under strong consideration for his next appearance.
While naming a filly Ballydoyle may have been tempting fate, the Coolmore boys generally know the time of day, and the Prix Marcel Boussac winner has fully justified their confidence.
Soft ground may have been her undoing in the Moyglare, though her conqueror that day, stablemate Minding, advertised the form in some style in the Dubai Fillies Mile at Newmarket yesterday.
She really cut loose in the closing stages leaving her rivals for dead and Ryan Moore was clearly highly impressed.
Whether either of these superb fillies will get the Oaks trip is very much open to question though of the pair Minding would look the more likely.
While there was talk of Ballydoyle heading to Keeneland for the Breeders Cup, that Kentucky trip is no longer an option with both fillies finished for the year.
One who should get the Oaks trip though is the Marcel Boussac runner up Turret Rocks.
Jim Bolger will have everything primed to getting her to Epsom in early June in mint condition.
ANTE POST HINTS –
Cox Plate – 2pts Win Highland Reel 10/1 (William Hill, Coral, Boylesports.)
Melbourne Cup – 2 pts Each Way Bondi Beach 20/1 generally
Back next Saturday.
Irish Racing Club