Taghrooda and Kingston Hill were given tough draws on Friday in a large field of 20 for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Pre-race favourite Taghrooda, this year’s winner of the Epsom Oaks and King George, has been drawn wide in Stall 15, while St Leger winner Kingston Hill has fared even worse after being drawn the widest in Stall 20.
There are encouraging signs, however, considering that Treve won from Stall 15 last year. Before that, the last to do so from such a difficult starting slot was Dalakhani from Stall 14 in 2003.
“We’ll take what we’re given and there is no point making a fuss about it,” said Angus Gold, the racing manager for Taghrooda owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
“We might be better where we are than being stuck on the inside, but who knows? So much will depend on how the race is run.”
Taghrooda, ridden by former champion jockey Paul Hanagan, has a chance to make up for losing to 3-year-old Tapestry, who beat her by half a length at the Yorkshire Oaks in August.
A late supplementary entry, Tapestry has been out of sorts and was drawn in Stall 8, while unbeaten filly Avenir Certain is drawn nearest to the rail in Stall 1 – which is one of the toughest places from which to start.
Trainer Roger Varian’s Kingston Hill, meanwhile, is seeking to become the first horse to do the St Leger-Arc double in a season, while veteran Frankie Dettori is looking to win for the fourth time. The 43-year-old Italian jockey will ride on Ruler of the World – last year’s Epsom Derby winner – and has a good draw in Stall 6.
Treve was drawn in Stall 3 with strongly-backed Prix Niel winner Ectot in 10. French jockey Gregory Benoist will be confident with a middle draw and his hopes were further boosted by the fact that Ectot will start next to pacemaker Montviron in Stall 11.
As usual over the past few years, there is a strong Japanese presence, with Just A Way, Harp Star and Gold Ship all hoping to give Japan a long-awaited Arc win after some near misses.
Good weather is forecast for the race with the ground expected to be good.
With prize money of E5 million ($A7.5m shared between the first three finishers, it is the richest turf race in the world.