Epsom Derby winner Serpentine joined the field of Sunday’s Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after connections of the surprise Derby winner paid €72,000 to supplement the horse into the field.
That gives standout trainer Aidan O’Brien five candidates in the current 16-horse field for France’s marquee race. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, the Arc kept its traditional first Sunday of October slot, though French racing organizers capped attendance at 1,000. Most of those will be connections to horses on the ParisLongchamp card.
Serpentine (14/1) joins stablemates Love (5/2), Mogul (20/1), Japan (25/1), and Sovereign (66/1) in the 1 ½-mile test for 3-year-olds and up. This is subject to change before Thursday’s deadline, and O’Brien told the Daily Mirror he may pull Love from a spongy ParisLongchamp track already inundated with water.
More rain is expected in Paris for Sunday and O’Brien didn’t rule out a late, weather-related scratch for the winner of the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks, and the Yorkshire Oaks. Even with Love conquering all the soft turf on a rain-soaked Yorkshire course, the uncertainty sent Love’s odds fluttering. Some books, including Ladbroke’s, put her upwards of 3/1.
O’Brien ‘Realistic’ About Love
“We chanced it on soft in York and she was fine on it,” O’Brien told the Mirror. “But when you start getting into extremes – especially when you start talking about heavy ground in France – we have to be realistic.”
Serpentine shocked the European racing world in July when he romped to a 5 ½-length victory in the Derby at 25/1. In his last time out, he finished fourth to Mogul in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris. O’Brien told reporters he was happy with Serpentine’s trip despite the off-the-board finish. That decided matters enough for his connections to open the checkbook for the Arc.
Serpentine’s next quest is joining Golden Horn (2015), Sea the Stars (2009), and Sinndar (2000) as horses winning both the Derby and Arc in the same year this century. Meanwhile, O’Brien seeks his third Arc title and first since Found located the winner’s circle in 2016.
Enable Running for More History
Standing in their way is favored Enable (13/8), who goes for her third Arc victory in four years. She captured Europe’s richest race in 2017 and 2018 before finishing second to Waldgeist last year. Also expected are Stradivarius (7/1), Sottsass (11/1), and Persian King (22/1). Sottsass finished third in the Arc last year.