Monday 9 December 2019

Workforce camp hoping fortune favours the brave

Sea of the Stars won the Qatar Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe last year. Photo: Damien Eagers
Sea of the Stars won the Qatar Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe last year. Photo: Damien Eagers

JA McGrath

Before the stalls even open for Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, owner Khalid Abdulla deserves high praise for having a crack with Derby winner Workforce, whose inclusion provides an extra dimension in Europe's premier all-aged race.

It would have been easy to walk away, particularly with such a foul weather-forecast and the prospect of very soft ground at Longchamp. In the circumstances, no level-headed person could have accused the Saudi prince of ducking the challenge, yet he has refused to give anyone the opportunity.

Yesterday, at Newmarket, Teddy Grimthorpe, Abdulla's racing manager, indicated it had been a straightforward decision. "He ticked all the right boxes," Grimthorpe said. "We don't know what happened at Ascot (when he beat only one home in the King George). It could've been a hard run in the Derby, it could've been the ground at Ascot. It could've been a combination of factors."

Michael Stoute indicated earlier in the week he had been pleased with Workforce's wellbeing, but he had left the final call to the owner.

In other Longchamp news, Lady Of The Desert, Ascot's Diadem Stakes winner, has been supplemented for the Prix de l'Abbaye and is now rated 3/1 favourite.

Godolphin will supplement Saamidd for the Dewhurst following the colt's easy racecourse gallop at Newmarket. This sets up a clash with the exciting Frankel.

A horse or human in full flight in the racing world can build up the momentum of an express train. At present, Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes are whistling through every station at full throttle and today's Newmarket card should mark the continuation of their autumnal 'grand tour.'

Expect Strong Suit to return to winning form in the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes despite opposition from Dream Ahead.

Strong Suit won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, coming from back in the pack. But last time at the Curragh, he was right up on the pace. In retrospect, he may have been better served in being held up. He has enjoyed a break since, and could well overwhelm them all.

In a very open Cheveley Park Stakes, Mark Prescott's Hooray might be the answer. The winner of the Lowther Stakes at York and the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park, she is improving more than had been anticipated. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Prix de l'Arc, latest odds: 3/1 Bekhabad, 4/1 Fame And Glory, 5/1 Workforce, 6/1 Planteur, 9/1 Sarafina, 10/1 Cape Blanco 14/1 Youmzain, 20/1 bar.

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