Tuesday 12 December 2017

Ballydoyle secure Soumillon for Cape Blanco's Arc assault

JA McGrath

The growing confidence behind the Ballydoyle 'second string' Cape Blanco can be gauged by a move from the Tipperary stable to secure Christophe Soumillon for the colt in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

The 9/1 offered by Stan James, who yesterday announced a five-year deal to sponsor the Champion Hurdle, will not last long. Fame And Glory, which missed the traditional Arc trials two weeks ago, remains as low as 4/1 second favourite with Johnny Murtagh confirmed to ride. The colt finished sixth behind Sea The Stars in the race last year.

The Irish challenge will be further enhanced by Midas Touch, the Doncaster St Leger runner-up, included in the line-up to ensure there is a good, strong gallop.

Soumillon, who has won two Arcs, is a jockey for the big occasion. His performance on the Aga Khan's brilliant filly Zarkava in the 2008 Arc lives long in the memory.

The Belgian jockey has ridden for Ballydoyle owners in big races in the past, the most celebrated occasion being when he took the 2006 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes aboard Hurricane Run.

In other news from Paris yesterday, Gerald Mosse is standing by to ride whichever of the Aga Khan's contenders -- either 7/2 favourite Behkabad or 10/1 chance Sarafina -- that retained jockey Christophe Lemaire discards. "It'll be a hard choice, but I will wait, even as long as Thursday," Lemaire said.

"I am expecting the ground to be soft. We had a lot of rain in Paris yesterday (Sunday), and more is expected. I've not ridden either Behkabad or Sarafina since they ran at Longchamp earlier this month, but I heard that both have recovered well."


Reports from Michael Stoute's yard suggest that Workforce is ready to do himself justice in the Arc, but because of the commercial pressures surrounding his next outing, the decision on his participation will be taken by the Epsom Derby winner's owner-breeder, Khalid Abdulla, and his camp alone. The colt is a top-priced 6/1 for the race.

Meanwhile, Kildare trainer Eamon Tyrrell and jockey Jason Behan have been found guilty by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary panel of not running Casela Park on its merits at Newcastle.

In a statement, the BHA have revealed the panel concluded Behan's ride amounted to "deliberately preventing a horse from winning" on August 4. The five-year-old, sent off at odds of 17/2, finished sixth off top weight of 9st 13lb, beaten two lengths.

A decision on the punishment will be made once the panel have received representations from both parties. Tyrrell and Behan could be disqualified from racing for up to five years.

Meath trainer Liam McAteer was on the mark at Ffos Las yesterday when his filly Yellow Dandy upset the odds-on favourite Supercharged in the opening juvenile maiden.

The latter was sent off at 2/5 following a couple of placed efforts, but Richard Hughes was hard at work from the halfway stage. In contrast, Yellow Dandy (7/1) was quickly away in the hands of Andrea Atzeni and she began to stamp her authority entering the final furlong and was not hard pressed to score by two lengths.

Jockey Eddie Ahern is facing a spell on the sidelines after damaging his right collarbone in a fall. The jockey took a tumble when his mount, Dolphina, stumbled after the line when winning the fillies' maiden.

"Hopefully, I'll just be out for two weeks, but it could be a bit more. I've broken it before," said Ahern. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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