The Road To The Arc Begins In Japan

It may only be February, but the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, held annually every October, already has a firm favorite on form.

Despite not being elevated to the head of the market by the majority of overseas oddsmakers just yet, Duramente established early claims for the world’s most prestigious race when easily taking the G2 Nakayama Kinen last weekend to kick off his 2016 season on a winning note.

With a large crowd on hand, Duramente made an eye-catching move from midpack to challenge for the lead exiting the bend. He surged away from the leaders down the straight and was able to hold off a late bid by G3 winner Ambitious. Looking a horse in desperate need of the run, Duramente showed more tractability than he had showed previously and he handled the bend much better than he had in the past.

Having won what was his first race in nearly nine months, Duramente tacked another accomplishment onto what is already an illustrious resume. A dual classic winner in 2015, Duramente showed a fantastic turn of foot when taking the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) despite erratically cornering into the straight. In the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby), he built upon that performance by breaking the race record, previously held by his sire King Kamehameha, en route to a cozy victory.

With the Triple Crown firmly in his sights, Duramente was unfortunately sidelined by distal fractures in both front legs which required surgery and ended his season.

While his Arc dreams were dashed last year, a rare recent year where Japan was not represented at all, Duramente’s connections firmly have their sights on the French target this time around.

Greats like Deep Impact and Orfevre were unable to win the Arc, a race that continues to haunt and elude the Japanese, but Duramente appears a more versatile sort than those two and others who challenged from the land of the rising sun.

Also in his favor is that the Arc has been shifted to Chantilly this year, while the race’s traditional home Longchamp is renovated. The Japanese routinely prepare for the race at their base on the Chantilly training grounds, making travel and preparation that little bit easier.

In the meantime, Duramente will be set for Dubai World Cup night and a run in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, where he could potentially face G1 Hong Kong Vase first and third Highland Reel and Dariyan as well as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Postponed, Mackinnon Stakes victor Gailo Chop and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf third Queen’s Jewel.

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