John Gosden has enjoyed a hugely successful career as a trainer both in America and in Britain, with over 100 wins recorded at Grade One level.
A look through the horse racing results will regularly bring up his name as the winning trainer, especially when it comes to Pattern races. Gosden has sent out winners of major prizes across the globe, including four at the Breeders’ Cup meeting where he saddled a double in 2008 as Donativum won the Juvenile Turf and Raven’s Pass the Classic.
But one major race still to elude the 64-year-old is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. The mile-and-a-half Group One on the first Sunday in October is the premier middle distance race in Europe, and arguably the world.
Yet Gosden is still searching for the right horse to win it. He has come close, with Taghrooda finishing a fine third behind wonder mare Treve last season after overcoming a horrendous draw.
This year, though, Gosden may just have found the horse who can deliver the Arc to his Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket.
Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs looks an ideal candidate to supply Gosden with that elusive win in the Arc.
The three-year-old only started his racing career two days after Christmas 2014 when he won a maiden over an extended mile on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, but he has quickly progressed into a top-class colt.
He demolished a smart field by 12 lengths in a 10-furlong Handicap on his second start at Sandown before finishing second to stablemate Golden Horn in the Dante Stakes at York. He then occupied the same place behind Golden Horn in the Epsom Derby.
Bought into by Godolphin after his Dante run, Jack Hobbs carried the royal blue silks to Classic success in the Irish Derby at the Curragh where he bounded clear to beat Storm The Stars by five lengths. He then returned from a break to win the September Stakes on the all-weather at Kempton earlier in the month to put himself firmly on course for the Arc.
The ground at Longchamp is unlikely to be a problem, whether it rains or shines in the days leading up to the race, and Jack Hobbs has proved himself at the trip.
If any horse is capable of stopping Treve from completing a hat-trick in the Arc, then Jack Hobbs looks the one. It’s also not inconceivable that Jack Hobbs could bid for his own Arc hat-trick, if he wins this year, as his sire Halling won two Group One races when he was both four and five. Godolphin also enjoy great success with older horses.
It’s a long way from a Wolverhampton maiden to winning the Arc, but given Gosden has also come a long way in his own career, it would be fitting if Jack Hobbs won the race this year.