PARIS (AFP) –
German filly Danedream can become the first filly since Corrida in 1936/37 to win successive Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes at Longchamp next Sunday.
The size of the task confronting the four-year-old German star is that none of the great champions who have returned for a second tilt at winning Europe’s most prestigious race have succeeded since Irish colt Alleged in 1977/78.
Trainer Peter Schiergen is confident, however, that Danedream has as great a chance as any of the previous winners of landing it for a second time even though she will confront a field which is stronger than last year’s.
“She is better than she was last year, well I hope so!” the 47-year-old former German champion jockey told AFP.
“She is in great shape. She is one year older but with more quality.”
While Schiergen breathed a sigh of relief that English mare and last year’s third placed finisher Snow Fairy had had to be withdrawn because of a leg problem which showed up on Friday he has plenty of others who pose a danger.
John Gosden has never won the Arc despite carrying all of Europe’s other major prizes before him but has a terrific chance with Nathaniel, who Danedream overcame in the dying strides of a thrilling King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July.
Last year’s runner-up Shareta has done little wrong this term winning the Yorkshire Oaks and then the Prix Vermeille earler this month and in trainer Alain de Royer Dupre has a handler well versed in turning out Arc winners.
However, Schiergen fears two above all.
“The Derby winner (Camelot) and the Japanese horse Orfevre are the two that I worry about,” said Schiergen.
Camelot had looked to be an unlikely runner following his failing to land the Triple Crown when second to Enke in the St Leger a fortnight ago but trainer Aidan O’Brien reignited interest in the dual Derby and English 2000 Guineas winner when he said he was giving serious consideration to running him in the Arc.
The other option for the Irish star is the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20 but with the unpalatable scenario of taking on unbeaten great Frankel in that race.
Orfevre, Japanse Horse of the Year in 2011, is seen as Japan’s best chance to end its 33-year search for an Arc winner that has seen 12 previous challengers fail with two El Condor Pasa and Nakayama Festa narrowly failing in 1999 and 2010 respectively.
Orfevre’s victory in the Arc trial the Prix Foy a fortnight ago at Longchamp served to promote him to joint favourite status with Danedream, though, question marks have to be posed about the value of that five runner race and how good his form really is from Japan.
His trainer Yasutoshi Ikee, though, has no qualms about his chances and that he will have come on significantly for that race plus he will have the advantage of being ridden by Belgian-born two-time Arc winning rider Christophe Soumillon.
“It (Prix Foy) was his first experience of running in Europe. His fitness is improving and he was only 75 per cent last time.
“Christophe Soumillon said it was a perfect trial.
“The pace must be faster than the Foy. He settled well in the Prix Foy so it should not be a problem.
“We are concerned about the crowd. On Tokyo Derby day the crowds are bigger and we coped with it okay. He had a hood on then, but no earplugs, just like at Longchamp (last time).”