After Friday morning's final declaration stage, 10 horses are entered for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere (Fr-I) Sunday at Longchamp. In the 1 1/2-mile race, Montjeu will seek to defend his 1999 Arc victory while facing 3-year-old Sinndar. The two Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I) winners head the field for the French classic.
Michael Tabor's 4-year-old Montjeu is undefeated on the year with victories in the Prix Foy Gray D'Albion Barriere (Fr-II), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I), Grand Prix de Saint Cloud (Fr-I), and Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I). As he did prior to his Arc win last year, the John Hammond trainee prepped at Longchamp on the traditional Arc trials day. Last year, the Sadler's Wells colt defeated Bienamado by a head in the Prix Niel prior to his 1/2-length win over El Condor Pasa in the Arc. This year under Michael Kinane, Montjeu won the Prix Foy by 1 1/2 lengths over Crillon. Should Montjeu win on Sunday, he would become the seventh horse to win consecutive runnings of the Arc and the first since Alleged took both the 1977 and '78 renewals under Lester Piggott.
Montjeu's main challenger is expected to be 3-year-old Sinndar. Sinndar won the Irish Derby at the Curragh in July, winning by nine lengths. The son of Grand Lodge returned to the races at Longchamp in September, romping to an eight length victory in the Prix Niel on the same day Montjeu won the Prix Foy. Sinndar completed the 1 1/2 miles in 2:26 2/5, while Montjeu ran the same distance in 2:32 4/5. Stablemate Raypour, a supplemental entrant, will serve as a rabbit for Sinndar.
Another sub-plot in the Arc is the brewing rivalry between 3-year-old fillies Egyptband and Volvoreta. Volvoreta (Suave Dancer) avenged her lone loss by defeating Egyptband in the Prix Vermeille Normandy Barriere (Fr-I) at Longchamp on Arc trials day, completing the 1 1/2 miles in 2:26 3/5. Egyptband (Dixieland Band) finished third in the Prix Vermeille but defeated Volvoreta in the Prix de Diane Hermes-French Oaks (Fr-I) at Chantilly in June.
Another talented 3-year-old in the Arc is undefeated Samum. The Andreas Schutz trainee defeated older horses in his most recent race, the Mercedes Benz Grosser Preis von Baden (Ger-I). Samum (Monsun) also has earned victories in the Stall Blankenese's BMW 130 Deutsches Derby (Ger-I), the Grosser Mueller Brot-Preis (Ger-II), and the Preis des Gestuets Wiesenhof (Ger-III).
The Arc will be televised by TVG. Arlington International will serve as the North American simulcast hub. (More, watching and wagering the Arc
The field, in post position order, will consist of:
5--Russian Hope, 131
8--Daring Miss, 128