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Arc Preview Day at Longchamp

Hippodrome de Lonchamp
Hippodrome de Lonchamp

Sunday's card at Longchamp in France is the local preview for Arc festival in early October with the six-race card featuring two Group 1, two Group 2, and two Group 3 events. The Prix Foy and Prix Neil are the prime preview races, with both running over the same twelve furlong trip as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.  The  2011 Arc will take place on Sunday, October 2nd. 

Below are the scheduled races for Sunday's Longchamp card:

G3 - Prix du Petit Couvert (3up, 5f)
G2 - Prix Foy (3up, 12f)
G2 - Prix Niel (3yo, 12f)*
G1 - Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (3up, 8f)
G1 - Prix Vermeille (3up, f&m, 12f)
G3 - Prix Gladiateur (4up, 15+f)

*The Prix Niel is a Breeders' Cup Challenge / "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

-The Prix Foy drew a microscopic field of four with few willing to challenge Nakayama Festa (JPN) and Sarafina (FR). Nakayama Festa finished 2nd to Workforce (GB) in last year's Arc but hasn't raced since finished 14th in the G1-Japan Cup last November. Sarafina began 2011 with a length defeat to Planteur (IRE) in the G1-Prix Air Mauritius at Longchamp, but bounced back to win the G2-Prix Corrida and G1-Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

-Meandre (FR) leads the field for the Prix Neil, the three-year-old restricted Arc prep.  An Andre Fabre trainee, Meandre has won three straight races, including the G1-Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on July 14th. Secretariat Stakes winner Treasure Beach (IRE) finished 4th that day.

Challenging Meandre will be Reliable Man (GB), a winner of three of his four lifetime starts, including the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly on June 4th.  Reliable Man finished 3rd to Meandre in the Grand Prix de Paris.

-The eight furlong Prix du Moulin de Longchamp drew a competitive field of nine, with many of the top contenders having challenged Frankel (GB) earlier in the season. 

Excelebration (IRE) finshed 3rd to Frankel at Ascot, 2 1/4 lengths back. 

Dubawi Gold (GB) could barely see Frankel in the Guineas at Newmarket (finishing over 13 lengths behind), but bounced back to win the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood in late August.

Zoffany (IRE) came the closest of any horse to beating the unbeaten Frankel when he finished 2nd by three-quarters of a length at Ascot.  The jury is out as to whether the closeness of the margin was due to the ride by Frankel's jock or the class of the runner-up.  Considering Zoffany's last two performances, it appears to be a little of both, but more the result of the ride.

Rio de la Plata was part of the four-horse Sussex Stakes where Frankel blew away Canford Cliffs in the final furlong.  The Goldolphin horse finished 3rd, over seven lengths back. Rajsaman (FR) finished fourth that day.

-Galikova (FR), half-sister to three-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Goldikova (IRE), will take on five rivals in the Prix Vermeille. Galikova sports a sparkling 6-4-1-0 career record and won  the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville in her last start.

The current ground at Longchamp is rated "Good to Soft".