Arc bid on the cards for Eminent – and Meade says best is yet to come
The aura of invincibility surrounding Enable might cause some potential Arc challengers to head elsewhere, but the favourite seems unlikely to frighten off fellow Newmarket contender Eminent, whose trainer Martyn Meade on Monday warned: "We haven't seen the best of him yet."
In a remarkably one-sided Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe market, quadruple Group 1 winner Enable – dominant again in last week's Yorkshire Oaks – is odds-on with some firms, while every other horse in ante-post lists can be backed at double-figure odds.
One such horse is Frankel's son Eminent, for whom a series of frustrating defeats came to an end when he led from start to finish under Ryan Moore to capture Deauville's Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano, scoring by three lengths in a contest in which Prix du Jockey Club winner Brametot was a well-beaten fifth.
Following that dazzling effort, Meade spoke of the Arc as a possible target for the Derby fourth, a 16-1 shot for racing's supreme turf championship.
Enable aside, the only other intended starter quoted at shorter prices is Japan's Satono Diamond, with the likes of Enable's runaway Great Voltigeur Stakes-winning stablemate Cracksman, Juddmonte International hero Ulysses and Brametot all either uncertain or unlikely to line up.
"The Arc is certainly on the cards at the moment," reported Meade.
"We were always minded to go for it but we wanted to see how he came out of Deauville – and he's come out of it firing on all cylinders. We're watching the Arc picture all the time and the race is very high on the list of probabilities.
"It's a worry when you see Enable win as well as she did, but you can't be put off by one horse."
Reflecting on the Guillaume d'Ornano, Meade added: "Deauville was the first time Eminent has really been able to get into his own stride.
"All season long I've been saying that's what he needed to do, but he hadn't had the chance to get out in front. At that level it's a big ask to go out and make the running, but last time he showed he can do that. The times don't lie – he went a good pace and the others couldn't get to him.
"Ryan gave him a brilliant ride, and any future running-plan decisions could also depend on who we can get to ride him.
"I'd say it's extremely unlikely we'd be able to get Ryan in any of the top races, so it's a matter of who else is available. That will start unfolding over the next few weeks. We'd need someone who would suit the horse."
Summing up Eminent's Arc claims, Meade said: "Our other option is the Irish Champion, but if he was to go for the Arc I think he'd go straight there – and if he did the distance of the race would suit him.
"He has been able to cope with a mile and a quarter, but I believe once we can get him into a rhythm he's going to stay. We haven't seen the best of him yet."
The Newmarket trainer could be doubly represented on Arc day with Prix Maurice de Gheest second Aclaim being prepared with the Prix de la Foret in mind.
"He's fine and the Foret is his target after perhaps one more run as he's a stuffy horse," added Meade.
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