So You Think - Arc de Triomphe
So You Think - Arc de Triomphe

So You Think

(Image : Inner Sanctum/Tourism Adventures)


Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

2 October 2011

Ask any Frenchman of what the symbol is of France’s greatest era, and he’ll tell you unhesitatingly, the Arc de Triomphe, which sits at the head of the Champs Elysees, and was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806.

There could be no greater celebration of the golden epoch in French imperial history, than by giving its name to a race in the heart of Paris’ Bois de Boulogne at the historic Longchamps racecourse.

Since its inauguration in 1857, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has been staged on the first Sunday in October, and while for many years it vied with races like England’s King George for the title of the middle distance championship of Europe, in more recent decades, it’s become the undisputed champion of this cause.

While there’ve been “hotter” renewals of the Arc, this weekend’s is intriguing, not only for the fact that it brings together several of the younger generation whose credentials may be even greater than they’ve already displayed, but also because the betting is headed by an Australian in So You Think. The Wallabies form at the Rugby World Cup has left a lot of our Aussie mates looking to the Arc to provide some consolation for what could end up a William Webb Ellis dream unfulfilled, and if Aidan O’Brien’s esteem of the son of High Chaparral should finally materialize in a run as good as the word-slingers would have him be, So You Think could finally bring glory to Australia.

He won’t have it all his own way though, as he has last year’s hero, Workforce as an opponent as well as the Aga Khan’s outstanding filly, Sarafina, to contend with. The Wertheimer brothers have Goldikova’s high class half sister, Galikova (by Galileo, who else?), representing the three-year-old fillies, while Coolmore’s St Nicholas Abbey and the 2009 English Oaks winner, Snow Fairy, bring current Group One form to the table, and are also not without a squeak.

Finally, one of the younger brigade is the King George ace, Nathaniel (another by Galileo), whose possible defection because of the firmness of the ground, could detract from what could be the performance of the season, if this horse has progressed since his mid-summer exertions at Ascot.

Riveting stuff, and it’s bound to be featured on Tellytrack (Channel 232) at around 5pm Sunday.