Updated on 09/15/2011 1:02PM

Favorites take Arc preps


Aquarelliste, Golan, and Hightori won three course and distance Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe prep races at Longchamp.

All three were favored Sunday, and could now vie for favoritism for Europe's championship event on Oct. 7.

In the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, Aquarelliste ran for the first time since taking the French Oaks on June 10. She defeated Diamilina by only a short neck Sunday, in her first race at the Arc distance of 1 1/2 miles.

"She showed very nice acceleration," said Alec Wildenstein, son of Aquarelliste's owner, Daniel Wildenstein. "I thought that she was slightly fat today, and I think that we will see even better from her in the Arc."

Now 4 for 4, the Elie Lellouche-trained Aquarelliste covered the distance in 2:29.40 on good ground under Dominique Boeuf.

In winning the Group 2 Prixe Niel for 3-year-old colts and fillies, Golan offered strong proof that the form of the Epsom Derby is clearly superior to that of the French Derby.

Runner-up to Galileo at Epsom, Golan beat French Derby winner Anabaa Blue by three-quarters of a length in the Niel. French Derby runner-up and Grand Prix de Paris winner Chichi Castenango was another two lengths back in third.

Anabaa Blue, sent off at 13-10, tried to take them all the way, but Kieren Fallon put Golan on the lead at the three-sixteenths pole. Trained by Michael Stoute for Lord Weinstock, Anabaa Blue clocked a fast 2:27. The first three all will be back at Longchamp for the Arc.

Hightori, taking a step down in class after a pair of thirds in the Dubai World Cup and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, had to work hard to defeat Idaho Quest by a half-length in the Group 2 Prix Foy.

Kept much closer to the pace by Gerald Mosse than in his previous two starts, the 1-2 Hightori recorded a time of 2:30.10, the slowest of the three Arc preps.

But Hightori may have had an excuse. Scratched from the Irish Champion Stakes last week because he had to have two teeth removed, Hightori was not at his best.

"Hightori hasn't been eating well because of his tooth problem," said his trainer, Philippe Denercastel. "He should improve if he starts eating normally again."

*Coral Eurobet odds for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: Sakhee, 5-2 (but only if he runs); Golan, 3-1; Hightori, 7-2, Aquarelliste, 5-1; Milan, 8-1; Morshdi, 10-1; Anabaa Blue, 12-1; Egyptband, Maille Pistol, Mirio, 14-1; Diamilina, Chichi Castenango, 16-1.