Moore's green light for Arc comeback
A PLUM ride in Europe's richest race is a powerful motivator and it has certainly done the trick for Ryan Moore.
The jockey has been sidelined by injury since a horrific fall at Goodwood in late July but will keep his date with Workforce in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday with two days to spare.
Moore, who broke his right humerus and thumb in the accident at the Glorious meeting, has satisfied his own and British Horseracing Authority doctors that his recovery is complete and will return to the saddle on Friday, when he will ride handicappers Tuscania and Kinyras at Ascot for his boss Michael Stoute.
The three-times champion has been riding out regularly on the Newmarket gallops for the past two weeks and partnered the Stoute-trained Workforce, last year's Arc winner, in a racecourse spin at Sandown a week ago.
But although his dedication and determination have won Moore his race against time, Workforce's quest to become the first horse to win back-to-back Arcs since Alleged in 1978 may be compromised by the prevailing fine weather and drying conditions in Paris.
The four-year-old has won on all types of ground but is perceived as being best-suited by ease underfoot and was one of a number of his ilk eased yesterday in the big-race betting.
His shift, though, from 5/1 to 11/2 in some lists, was minor compared with that of John Gosden-trained Nathaniel and local hope Reliable Man, from the stable of Alain de Royer-Dupre, both of whose trainers are prepared to withdraw their charges if the ground is too fast. Nathaniel, winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on good-to-soft ground in July, was alongside Workforce at 5/1 third favourite yesterday morning and 8/1 by close of play.
Conversely, the punters are latching on to fast-ground specialists like Ed Dunlop-trained Snow Fairy.
"Obviously, Snow Fairy wants the ground to stay fast, and she will work mid-week and we'll take it from there," explained Dunlop.
The weekend gamble on the four-year-old filly, which would give Frankie Dettori his 24th consecutive ride in the Arc, showed no sign of abating yesterday. Ladbrokes, for instance, have cut her from 25/1 to 16/1.
Last year's dual Oaks heroine has yet to win this year but pushed So You Think, the pride of Ballydoyle, to half a length at Leopardstown earlier this month and a decision on her participation will be made tomorrow.
However, Aidan O'Brien's So You Think, also considered a fast-ground specialist, also drifted, prompting bookmaker Paddy Power to briefly suspend their betting on the Arc yesterday due to "inconsistencies" in the market.
"It would be unwise and premature to read too much into the drift at this stage because the monies involved are limited," Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said yesterday evening. "But the fact is So You Think's price has lengthened in the last hour, hitting a high of 9/1 at one point."
Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, responsible for ante-post favourite Sarafina, warned yesterday that the going can change dramatically at Longchamp.
"Sarafina can go on all grounds," de Royer-Dupre said. "That is important as we never know what kind of ground we are going to have in Longchamp.
Should Nathaniel, Reliable Man et al miss the Arc, the Champion Stakes at Ascot's inaugural self-styled Champions Day two weekends later could be the beneficiary.
But the restructuring of the British domestic autumn calendar to accommodate the new meeting has left Saturday at Newmarket, historically a tasty bonne bouche before the feast in France on Sunday, woefully bland.
Elsewhere, four-times French champion jockey Dominique Boeuf (43) has decided to call time on a highly successful 27-year career. Boeuf rode his first winner as a 16-year-old in September 1984 and opened his Group One account on Groom Dancer in the Prix Lupin in 1987.
"I have ridden many good horses and Groom Dancer was the best," Boeuf said. "He gave me my first Group One." (© Independent News Service)