THE honours board covering the 75-year history of the Forte Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Europe's biggest and best all-aged contest, lists five horses who have won the race in consecutive years - and there is every chance that this exclusive club will admit a new member before the night is out. Carnegie, last year's winner, has an excellent chance of repeating that success, enabling him to rub shoulders, figuratively speaking, with the likes of Ksar (1921-22), Corrida (1936-37), Tantieme (1950-51), Ribot (1955-56) and Alleged (1977-78). Not that the magnificiently-bred four-year-old is worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the great Ribot, who finished his career unbeaten, but his is still an identity firmly linked to the Arc and its fascinating history. A handsome son of Sadler's Wells, Carnegie's dam is Detroit, who won the 1980 Arc for Pat Eddery in the colours of Robert Sangster. Family background often sets the boudaries for even the most able on the turf, and on that score Carnegie will not be found wanting. With the ground at Longchamp expected to be very soft (heavy by Hong Kong standards), it is essential to look for those horses certain to stay the trip in those conditions. Carnegie, Swain, Sunrise Song, Carling and Balanchine all have proven soft ground form to their credit and should be included in calculations. Lammtarra, Frankie Dettori's mount, is unbeaten, and while it was undoubtedly his staying prowess that enabled him to beat Pentire in a thrilling finish to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot in July, he has yet to prove himself a winner in very soft ground. On the other hand, Carnegie looks completely at home in soft going, having won the Prix Foy, one of the traditional Arc trials, snugly from Balanchine under those conditions at Longchamp three weeks ago. While Dettori was to be seen hard at work, driving Balanchine to the line, Thierry Jarnet, who will be bidding for his third Arc victory this weekend, was far from vigorous on Carnegie, scraping home by a short head but with apparently just a little up his sleeve. As it was last year, Carnegie's entire season has been geared towards the Arc. After the gentlest of introductions when fifth to Sunshack in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, the four-year-old then won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, defeating Luso, before progressing to the King George, in which he finished a tame sixth to Lammtarra on unsuitably fast ground. It is in the autumn that Carnegie seems at his best, and there is every reason to believe he will be stronger and even more formidable than he has been in the past. I believe he can give Sheikh Mohammed, trainer Andre Fabre and jockey Jarnet another famous victory in the race. Swain remains an interesting runner, probably because he is a proven mudlark and certain to stay - but with the added question about his class. Fabre chose to by-pass the St Leger at Doncaster in order to have the colt fresh and ready for the Arc, and with Mick Kinane booked to ride, he is certain to have plenty of admirers in Hong Kong. Kinane, who has not ridden the horse, has been studying videos of his past performances. He readily agrees that Swain's victory over Zilzal Zamaan and Sunrise Song in the Grand Prix de Deauville was hard-fought and far from impressive. But having already won over 2,800 metres, he is certain to be staying on. Gerald Mosse, who won the 1990 Arc on Saumarez, is not without a chance on Sunrise Song, whom trainer Francois Doumen reports to have come on significantly since Deauville. While many might say that she would need to, she is a filly going the right way when others could be feeling the effects of a long season. Balanchine, the winner of last year's Oaks at Epsom and the Budweiser Irish Derby at the Curragh, has come through the final stages of her Arc preparation in most pleasing fashion, and Walter Swinburn could find himself in the curious position of having the last laugh on his employers should the filly get up to win. Swinburn was unceremoniously jocked-off Lammtarra before the King George - no plausible reason was given publicly - but he has gained the mount on Balanchine, who could quite conceivably finish ahead of her younger, Derby-winning stablemate. As a multiple Group One-winning filly, and one who loves the ground, Carling must be seen as a distinct possibility, while Strategic Choice, the Irish St Leger winner, also has place claims. Strangely, both Pat Eddery and Freddie Head, the two most successful Arc riders of the modern era, with four wins each in the race, are without a mount. Eddery's chances ebbed away when both Winged Love and Valley Of Gold dropped by the wayside. 'It is uncanny really,' said Eddery. 'It's too late to pick up another ride in the race. It was the same in the Derby this year - I was due to ride Sebastian and he came out on the eve of the race.'