The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting is many things to many people.
Whether you remember watching Europe’s most prestigious turf race on the television with family and friends from a young age, or have been fortunate enough to perform a smash on grab raid on Paris for the weekend, it is a race that anoints champions and feeds the soul.
Betting on it has been a relatively simple task, too, but for the return to ParisLongchamp on Sunday for the first time since Golden Horn struck in 2015, punting on the great race has taken on a new dynamism.
On Friday, France Galop announced that they will put together a trans-Atlantic Pick 4 bet that will comprise the Arc itself, the Prix l’Opera and the two big Grade Ones in America at Belmont; the Flower Bowl and the Frizzette.
But much more of interest, however, is that Coral have priced up a handicap market for the Arc, and have also done something similar for the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Charoit Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
For those who like betting on golf and the jockeys' championship, it will be music to your ears that racing betting has begun to offer something new.
For those that have not ventured outside the confines of pure win bets, it is worth exploring. Each of the 19 runners is priced at 14-1 and the firm offer each-way betting of 1/5 the odds 1,2,3.
Enable, who is priced at between 10-11 and 11-10 in the win market, runs off scratch, while each of the other runners receives a length handicap – Sea Of Class, for instance, has a 1.5-length start, while Aidan O’Brien’s outsider Nelson has a 16-length start.
It looks simple, but consider the unheralded horse Sijan’s Saga, who ran in the Arc three times between 2014 and 2016. Never heard of him? He was sent off at 100-1 twice, and 150-1, and finished just four lengths adrift of Found in 2016, four and half lengths off Gold Horn in 2015, and six a half lengths behind Treve in 2014. He'd surely have returned a profit in that market three years in a row.
Over the past ten years, aside from the horses who completely bomb out, there is generally between 13 and 20 lengths from the winner back to those who have run their race. With that in mind, it is worth looking at the rags in the line-up, one of whom happens to be Roger Varian’s Defoe.
Defoe has run in to the places ten times from 12 starts, and ran a blinder despite an ill-judged ride from Andrea Atezni last time when edged out by Best Solution in the Longines Grosser Preis Von Baden after a 98-day layoff.
Watch video analysis of Defoe's defeat in Germany from The Verdict
Over 12 furlongs on ground that is likely to receive a nice smattering of rain on Sunday morning, according to the forecast, he could easily be the handicap blot for all that he is drawn poorly in stall 18.
Atzeni is likely to drop him in, and come through beaten horses at the finish.
Others to consider are the ultra-consistent Patascoy, who gets a nine-length start, Neufbosc, who has one length more, and last year's second Cloth Of Stars, who is reportedly back to the form of 12 months ago and receives eight.
As to who is actually going to win the race, Enable is quite obviously the best horse in the race on current known form, but she was a precocious individual when she won at Chantilly 12 months ago, and as a three-year-old filly with all the weight for age and sex allowances she was sent off at 10-11.
She is roughly the same price now, but without so many weight concessions, running off an injury and at a different course.
Watch The Verdict on Enable's return in the September Stakes
She is certainly the most likely winner, but put in that context there is no way you can say she reprsents value at the prices.
Sea Of Class is next in the betting at 3-1, but when you consider that Enable was the first British or Irish three-year-old filly to win the Arc, it highlights how big a step it will be for William Haggas’s daughter of Sea The Stars.
She is not the biggest, is a tail flicker, and has never run in a race against bulkier colts with so many runners. That is not to say she cannot do it, her turn of foot is perfect for the challenge ahead, but whether she represents any value in a long-saturated market is debatable.
David Cleary and Oli Bell take a look at Sea Of Class's Yorkshire Oaks win
Andre Fabre seeks a record eighth success and with Waldgeist he could well have a contender who has several pounds of improvement to come. But of all the 19 runners surely Capri is the one most overpriced at 25-1, even though you could have snaffled double that at the start of the week.
His St Leger victory could not have worked out much better with subsequent King George runner-up Crystal Ocean in behind, and ahead of staying hero Stradivarius. Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling was next, while Coronet, runner-up to Sea Of Class in the Yorkshire Oaks last time out, followed those colts home.
His Irish Derby form before that when he beat Cracksman and had Waldgeist trailing in his wake merits close inspection, and although he was lacklustre behind Waldgeist in the Foy last time, he appeared to travel with zest up front before simply running out of petrol on his first start since April.
Although fillies have ruled the roost over the past decade, Aidan O’Brien was the last trainer to hit the bullseye with a four-year-old colt in Dylan Thomas and Capri has endless battling qualities, too.
Watch video analysis of Waldgeist's Prix Foy victory from The Verdict
Elsewhere on the card, French juvenile Rocques looks to have the Prix Marcel Boussac at her mercy and is definitely worth considering but at 10-1 I have had a dabble on Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubai Beauty.
She won in a good time at Newmarket in August but ran a stinker at Doncaster in the May Hill. She will not be the last horse to run poorly on Town Moor and bounce back, and Bin Suroor has long felt she is one of the best juvenile fillies he has got.
Wild Illusion won the Boussac in fine style last season and is favourite for the Prix l’Opera on the back of her fluid Nassau Stakes success at Glorious Goodwood last time. The Godolphin filly was gifted the race somewhat, however, and preference is for Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand.
Watch video analysis of Wild Illusion's Goodwood win
The Galileo filly hammered Wild Illusion by four lengths at Royal Ascot in receipt of 3lbs but then, like so many Ballydoyle horses, spent a period in the doldrums. She bounced back to form with a huge run in an exceptionally quick time against older opposition when second in the Prix Vermeille at the course last time and she looks remarkably overpriced at 11-2 to follow up stable companion Rhododendron’s win 12 months ago.
Watch video analysis of the Prix Vermeille in which Magic Wand finished second
I think Anodor will win the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere at 4-5, and do not want to back Polydream at 13-8, nor oppose her, in the Prix de la Foret.
One horse who I am keen on backing, however, is Mabs Cross. Whichever way you look at it, she has raced against Battaash three times this season and her form is not far off Charlie Hills's defending champion.
Watch video analysis of the Nunthorpe Stakes won by Alpha Delphini
She finished three quarters of a length behind him in the Temple Stakes, a neck in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, and ran a blinder when edged out by Alpha Delphini in the Nunthorpe at York when Battash was two and a half lengths behind.
At 6-4 there will be many who think Battaash is a certainty to follow up last season’s comprehensive success, but at 8-1 Mabs Cross looks each-way thievery .
Geoffrey Riddle's How To Bet Your £20 on Sunday:
1.20 ParisLongchamp: £2 Dubai Beauty at a generally available 10-1
3.05 ParisLongchamp: £2 each-way Defoe on Coral's handicap + 10 lengths at 14-1
3.05 ParisLongchamp: £2 each-way Capri at a generally available 25-1
3.50 ParisLongchamp: £4 Magic Wand at a generally available 11-2
4.25 ParisLongchamp: £3 each-way on Mabs Cross at a generally available 8-1
£2 Trixie (three doubles and a treble) on Polydream, Anodor and Enable
£5 win on Magic Wand
£3 each-way on Mabs Cross
£1 win double on Dubai Beauty and Capri
Select any odd to add a bet