Connections of Raabihah will hope that lightening can strike twice this year as Jean-Claude Rouget prepares her for a second crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in a similar fashion to his 2020 winner Sottsass.
The four-year-old daughter of Sea The Stars only made her racecourse debut 13 months ago at Cagnes-sur-Mer, but emerged via Classic-placings to spearhead the three-year-old Arc assault last year. Sent off at 13/1, she failed to capitalise on her low draw and could only stay on into a poor fifth in the Arc, for all that she did pick off Enable and Stradivarius in the finish.
She stays in training this year and looks a slam dunk for a fillies and mares Group One this summer on fast ground. Speaking to the Paris-Turf this weekend, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said Raabihah will return in May this year, before attacking the Group One Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville over 10 furlongs in August. Her next big target will be the Prix de l’Arc, back at Longchamp, where Rouget will be hoping for better ground this year.
A race has not been mentioned for the May comeback, but it could be at the top level. In 2010 Rouget ran a similar type, Stacelita, back in the Prix d’Ispahan for her four-year-old debut.
October does seem an impossibly long time to wait for an antepost bet to settle, but Raabihah does appeal as an investment to win the 2021 Prix de l’Arc at 25/1 with Betfred and Sky Bet. Older mares like Treve, Enable, Found and Solemia have a good recent record in the race and Rouget’s older horses have made an explosive start to the year.