Oct. 6th, 2013 – Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Preview

Tony Kelzenberg for BetPTC.com

Oct 5th, 2013

THE BACKSTORY

In case you haven’t heard, a Japanese-trained horse has never won the Arc!!  I know if you live in North America this isn’t a large concern, but in Japan in some ways winning the Arc has become an obsession. Deep Impact was a huge on-track favorite before losing narrowly in 2006.  Last year, the Japanese-trained Orfevre looked home free before ducking in badly late and hitting the rail, losing the race to the lowly-regarded filly Solemia (if you want to see what a shock defeat that was, watch the replay here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kluttGunQc).  This year Orferve and another Japanese-trained horse, Kizuna, are entered to win the 2013 Arc.  A Japanese-trained horse has to have its training schedule fully disrupted and specifically pointed for the Arc.  THAT is why Orfevre is back to win this year.  This is race that will define his place in history, not just a winner of the Arc, but accomplishing something not even the great Deep Impact could do – winning the Arc with Japanese-based connections.

Then question of the day is Orferve (currently the 9/4 favorite with William Hill) good enough to crush this Arc field in 2013?  Using Racing Post Ratings the answer is no.  He is a leading contender and has a good post (8), but his Racing Post Ratings (the Racing Post’s Euro-based answer to Beyer numbers) give him the slightest of edges – a peak RPR of 138 to 136 for Al Kazeem and 135 for the lightly raced and undefeated three year old filly Treve.

The Arc preps tell a similar story.  Treve’s prep was much faster than the prep for the 3yo colts, which was run even faster than Orfevre’s prep race.  Orfevre does have experience running well in last year’s Arc, BUT experience usually does not tell in the Arc.  From 1990 through 2012, three year olds have won the Arc 17 times, four year olds have won the Arc 5 times, and five year olds have only won the Arc one time (Marienbard in an upset for Godolphin in 2002).  Orfevre is 5 years old.  He has little upside in performance and no value at the windows.  He may be too old, and like we stated above, no Japanese-trained horse has won the Arc (and trust me you whippersnappers, he’s no Deep Impact either).

TIME TO BET!!

So where to go with the money?  BELOW is a betting odds table of the quoted odds for a leading bookmaker in Britain, William Hill, along with my computer-generated odds line for the top contenders.

Note first that Orferve’s ‘quoted odds’ for an Arc win are quite a bit underlaid compared to my model.  This is true of most favorites because bettors like to back GOOD THINGS – but the price for good form is short, generally underlaid prices.

Al Kazeem’s odds are really interesting.  He’s been the best overall middle distance horse in Europe all spring and summer, and he ran second in his last race, the very prestigious Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown to the top mare The Fugue.  He also has been in the money in all six starts this year, with 4 wins.  MAYBE William Hill has some inside information that Al Kazeem won’t go well, OR they think post 18 (assumed to be post 17 of 17 after the scratch of Novellist) will doom him.  Since I have AL KAZEEM, independent of post, as a 9/2 chance, I have to make AL KAZEEEM the bet of the day from a value perspective if he is double digit odds on race day. 

Treve had BY FAR the fastest trial race, and strikes me as an A.P. Indy type – she loves to run and win, and she really puts her neck down in the stretch and has a powerful closing kick.  The stretch at Longchamp is three furlongs long, and that will definitely play to her strengths.  I fully expect Treve to be in the top three at the finish, and I have her as the most likely winner from a handicapping perspective.

Betting

William Hill

PEAK

Tony’s Generated

Number

Horse

Post

Quoted Odds

RPR

RPR Odds Line

6

Orfevre

8

 9/4

138

 7/2

3

Al Kazeem

18

16/1

136

 9/2

18

Treve

15

 4/1

135

 5/1

17

Intello

9

 9/1

132

 9/1

10

Flintshire

7

 12/1

131

 11/1

14

Kizuna

11

 7/1

131

 11/1

15

Ruler of the World

6

 9/1

131

 11/1

1

Very Nice Name

1

66/1

128

 40/1

11

Leading Light

5

 11/1

128

40/1

12

Ocovango

13

 33/1

127

 50/1

5

Meandre

2

50/1

126

 50/1

7

Going Somewhere

4

100/1

126

 50/1

4

Joshua Tree

14

50/1

125

100/1

8

Haya Landa

17

100/1

124

100/1

13

Penglai Pavillion

10

 33/1

124

100/1

WHO ELSE CAN WIN?

Of the others, Kizuna (the Japanese Derby Winner), and Ruler of the World (the English Derby winner)  were a nose apart in their Trial and with modest improvement either (or both) can get into the frame.  I have seen both run several times and I think Kizuna (ironically a son of Deep Impact) is more athletic and I would favor him over ‘the Ruler.’  Intello is a very nice horse brought to us by the owners and breeders of Goldikova and he has a lot of ability and speed.  I would expect him to have the lead two furlongs out and it will be interesting if he can get the mile and a half against world-class opposition.  Hopefully he will come to the Breeder’s Cup this year or next year.  Flintshire is trained by the incredible Andre Fabre.  Certainly can’t eliminate this one with confidence, and he is in an uncoupled entry with Intello.  Expect Flintshire to make a late run.

Summary

  • Orfvre is overbet at any odds below 3/1.  He has a good post (8) but usually 5 year old horses are also-rans in this race.  He completely blew this race last year when he ducked in badly in the stretch and normally you only get one chance to win the Arc.
  • Al Kazeem isn’t a world beater but he’s 16/1 with William Hill to win the Arc.  Unless there is something I don’t know about Al Kazeem, he should be in the 5/1 odds range to win, so I have to make him the value play in the race at odds of 8/1 or more.
  • Treve probably has the most upside in the field and her running style really fits well with Longchamp’s very long, three furlong stretch.  Of all the leading contenders her trial time was the fastest by two seconds and I consider her the most likely winner in the big race.
  • The other top three year olds are all talented but would have to improve by two to three lengths to beat the favorites.  Kizuna is the “other” Japanese import and might be the one to get the trophy for the Japanese.

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