Matt Chapman tips: Why I think this 25-1 shot can cause a massive upset in the Arc de Triomphe


MOST of you will never have heard of Al Hakeem — but I’m hoping that will change in the next 48 hours.

Al Hakeem is a French-trained colt and horses across the channel have been pants at home in Group 1 races this season.

Our man Chappers fancies an outsider to win the Arc on Sunday


Our man Chappers fancies an outsider to win the Arc on SundayCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd.

So, the Jean-Claude Rouget runner is a massive price to land tomorrow’s Arc.

The Longchamp thriller, screened live on ITV, has long been the ultimate mile-and-a-half test, and it looks wide open with a full field of 20.

Likely favourite is Luxembourg, the one-time Derby big-shot who missed Epsom but showed everyone what he can do by landing the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. He finally goes over the trip connections have always thought he would relish.

Other major players include Alpinista, looking for a sixth Group 1 on the trot for Sir Mark Prescott and Luke Morris, and last year’s mud-loving hero Torquator Tasso, the mount of Frankie Dettori.


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Titleholder goes for Japan and is no mug, while Rob Hornby is back on Derby third Westover who took the Irish equivalent for Colin Keane.

With Coral-Eclipse victor Vadeni, Irish Champion second Onesto and huge money-earner Mishriff taking his chance it’s a deep Arc.

But I have a feeling Al Hakeem will shock them all for a home side that until today had banged in only three of their 16 Group 1s this term.

So why might Al Hakeem pull off a shock in the sponsor’s colours, worn twice to victory by Treve? For a start, everything Al Hakeem has done suggests he has been crying out for this distance.

Matt Chapman’s Saturday tips


1.31 – Persist each-way

2.06 – Skysail each-way

2.42 – Prosperous Voyage each-way


1.51 – King’s Lynn each-way

2.25 – Hamish

3.00 – Ehraz each-way

3.36 – River Nymph each-way


3.21 – Cold Case

Just take a look at his fourth in the French Derby when he ran on strongly and his rallying win at Deauville last time.

History dictates most Arc winners are proven stayers, but there are plenty this year who step up for the first time and Al Hakeem is one.

As a horse likely to be dropped out, stall four is ideal, and Rouget enjoyed Arc success with Sottsass under the same jockey Cristian Demuro in 2020.

There is no way Al Hakeem should be around 25-1.

Many will rely on Aidan O’Brien and Luxembourg, but only two out of the last ten market-leaders have been successful.

Luxembourg is drawn well in eight — from 1995 to 2019 only four Arc winners at Longchamp were came from double-figure stalls — and he races like a horse who will appreciate a mile and a half.

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Westover will have to settle better than in the King George at Ascot last time, but I suspect he will enjoy being back with Hornby.

In recent years Irish Derby winners Montjeu, Sinndar and Hurricane Run all went on to land the Arc. Conditions are ideal and he’s another with a good spot in stall seven.

I feel Onesto is also over-priced. The son of Frankel has only run once over this trip and won the Grand Prix de Paris, with St Leger hero Eldar Eldarov back in fourth.

I’d be surprised if Onesto doesn’t at least give you a run for your money, although he has to reverse Leopardstown form with Luxembourg — and French Derby placings with Al Hakeem.

If you fancy playing a horse at 100-1 I also wouldn’t put you off a couple of quid each-way on Alenquer. There’s an irony that William Haggas’s Baaeed would have been the odds-on favourite, but as it is he has the roughie.

Alenquer was ninth last year when up with the pace and I think he’s much better challenging late.

That said, I’ll be cheering on Al Hakeem. Never heard of him?

You have now.


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