By Jon Lees
France: Way To Paris will line up in Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe “a way better horse” than when he first took on Enable at ParisLongchamp two years ago, according to his trainer Andrea Marcialis.
The trends may be against the seven-year-old grey, a 40-1 chance who will be the oldest runner in the field. Motrico in 1932 was the last seven-year-old to win the Arc, Europe’s richest race.
But as the son of Champs Elyssees did not make his G1 breakthrough until he captured the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June this year, Marcialis is not ruling it out.
“Many times Way To Paris has been an outsider but I still think he can have a really good chance,” he said. “The race is not going to be easy but the horse is really well at the minute. He prefers fast ground but we’ve had lots of rain so we will see what he can do on this ground.”
Then trained by Marcialis’s father Antonio, Way To Paris finished 11th in 2018, beaten under six lengths by Enable, but last year after finishing second to subsequent Arc winner Waldgeist in the Prix Foy, he tackled the 2m4f Prix du Cadran, in which he was sixth.
This season he has kept to shorter distances, running Sottsass to a head in the 1m2f Prix Ganay before defeating Nagano Gold at Saint-Cloud and then finishing fifth in the Prix Foy behind Anthony Van Dyck.
“That wasn’t his best performance because he had had a three-month break and he is often like that when he is not really ready,” said Marcialis. “He needs a lot of preparation so I wasn’t really disappointed with it.”
Marcialis, 38, was born in Milan, where he worked for his father. He rode as a jockey for three years and spent a year in Newmarket where he had spells with Sir Michael Stoute and Mick Quinlan before taking out his licence in France two years ago.
Basing himself in Chantilly he started with just four horses but has made rapid strides. He trained 64 winners in 2019 and so far in 2020 he has sent out 66 to put him fifth in the Flat trainers’ championship.
Way To Paris will not be his only runner over the two-day fixture, at which he hopes to celebrate his first winner.
“Princesse De Saba will have a really good chance on Saturday, La Gioiosa is in the Prix Marcel Boussac and Sestilio Jet runs in the Abbaye,” said the trainer. “I think they all have really good chances.”
He continued: “The Arc is one of the best races you can win. Who wouldn’t want to win it? I think this year’s race is the best in 20 years.
“Way To Paris has a different work routine this year and I think he is benefitting from it. In my opinion he is not the same horse as when he ran two years ago. He is way better.”