Arc de Triomphe Handicapping Grid

A Punter’s Guide to the Arc.  Will Enable Win a Third Arc?

Established in 1920, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe continues to attract the best horses from across the world to compete over 2400m. With Enable bidding for a historic hat-trick, how do fillies and mares perform? How successful have UK and Irish runners been over the past decade? How do three-year-olds fare when compared to older competition? We look at some of the statistics behind the big race…

To give a broad picture of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, all the runners are displayed in the table below and their run/win/place rate is listed for each of five main categories: Black Type form, righthanded tracks, the ‘Arc’ distance (2400m), form at Longchamp, previous experience in the ‘Arc’ and wet ground. Notable horses in each category are emphasized in green boxes.  [Source is the French PMU]

Although there have been doubts over Enable’s ability as a six-year-old, previous form makes her a leading contender in all categories with special emphasis on her Black-type record. She is the only horse in the field who rates highly in more than three of the six categories. Stradivarius has never finished out of the frame in Black Type company and Persian King boasts a strong record at the top level.

A surprising number of horses in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe field have little experience over the 2400m distance and it is interesting to note that In Swoop has never finished out of the frame when competing over the trip. An eye-catching horse from the ‘Arc’ category is Sottsass – although he has only participated in the ‘Arc’ once, he finished third behind Waldgeist in 2019 and holds a solid record over the journey too.

Looking at the runner’s Longchamp record specifically, Persian King and Raabihah may have a different level of experience but they both remain unbeaten at the racecourse. It is important to mention that although Enable has raced in three ‘Arcs’, the 2017 renewal was held at Chantilly whilst Longchamp was closed for redevelopment.

With rain forecast over the coming days in Paris, it is likely that the runners will experience wet ground in Europe’s richest race. This category includes all runs with soft or yielding in the going description (good-to-soft would be included). The Aidan O’Brien trained runner, Sovereign has recorded wins and placings on rain-softened ground and In Swoop has only raced on firmer going once in his four career starts.

Other interesting statistics:

  • Frankie Dettori – 5 victories since 2000 (25% winning strike rate)
  • Six-year-olds – 0 wins in last 99 renewals
  • Domestic vs International competition – 11 French winners (55%) since 2000
  • Winning favorites – Twice (20%) from last ten renewals (Enable on both occasions)
  • Three-year-olds – 66 wins over the last 99 renewals (66%)
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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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