Andre Fabre has set his sights on dethroning Arc queen Enable in the Breeders’ Cup Turf with a twin assault from last year’s champion Talismanic and Group One winner Waldgeist, writes Jon Lees.
While the stats will be in Fabre’s favour at Churchill Downs on November 3, the 24-time champion Flat trainer of France fears Enable is a different class to previous Arc winners.
Of his five Breeders’ Cup winners, three were achieved in the Turf – and both In The Wings (1990) and Shirocco (2005) claimed their victories after finishing fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the exact placing Waldgeist achieved at Longchamp this month.
Talismanic, winner of the Turf at Del Mar last year, did not contest the Arc last year.
Enable is the odds-on favourite to follow up her second victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by landing the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
She will be attempting to end a horrible sequence of results for Arc winners at Breeders’ Cups that has seen all seven winners of Europe’s richest turf race suffer defeat in the same season – a list that includes such illustrious names as as Golden Horn, Dylan Thomas and Dancing Brave.
The filly Found became the latest to fail in 2016, the year she won the Arc, having denied 2015 Longchamp winner Golden Horn at Keeneland 12 months earlier.
Waldgeist has a length and three-quarters to make up on Enable on Longchamp running, while Talismanic never figured when only 13th in the race.
Fabre said: “Of course, Enable is the one to beat, but they are both in good shape.
“Talismanic likes those short bends. I think I was probably a bit soft with him in the training, and he didn’t get into the Arc. He seems to be OK now.
“The draw (13) didn’t help Waldgeist, but it’s like that in Longchamp. He could have been third with a better draw.”
Pierre-Charles Boudot will have only his second Breeders’ Cup ride on Waldgeist, while Mickael Barzalona will continue his winning association with Godolphin’s Talismanic.
Conduit, in 2008 and 2009, was the last horse to record back-to-back wins in the Turf. He also finished fourth in the Arc before recording his second win, while St Nicholas Abbey (2011) warmed up for his victory with a fifth place – but Fabre will not be relying on past trends.
“Usually a good Arc winner doesn’t run at the Breeders’ Cup,” he said.
“I did it once with Trempolino, and he ran a hell of a race, but it’s the first time a filly of the calibre of Enable has run in the Breeders’ Cup.
“It’s not enough to be confident, but it gives us some chance. There are many factors – you have the draw and things like that.”