| 9.5°C Dublin

Workforce ready to atone for Ascot flop

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe market became a bit like Lanigan's Ball this week with regard to Workforce's participation; and if you were watching the Betfair markets on Wednesday, you may have been totally confused as to whether he was in our out of tomorrow's big race at Longchamp.

At one stage, he hit 14/1 on the exchange as rumours about his condition swept across Newmarket but thankfully, a good workout on Thursday morning meant that Michael Stoute, who has never won the Arc, gave the go-ahead for the King's Best colt to take on the best that Europe has to offer.

His price has settled down to 6/1, which is a fair reflection of his chances now that he's been given the all-clear. I was hugely impressed with his Derby win but was stung badly when he subsequently flopped in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. On reflection, the Epsom race took a lot out of him and he probably hadn't fully recovered when heading to Ascot.

I lost quite a lot of money backing him at 8/11 and I can understand why some punters are cautious. Hopefully, the break will have done him a world of good and his price looks a tick or two higher than it should be.

Behkabad is the one they have to beat but he comes here on the back of a long season. Fame And Glory has some of the best form in the field but the vibes I'm getting from Ballydoyle are not the strongest and it's clear Cape Blanco has been added to the mix as plan B.

Elie Lellouche's Planteur is expected to put in a bold show but he's twice finished behind Behkabad at Longchamp this season. I've no reason to believe we'll see a reversal tomorrow.

In Redcar, Ladies Are Forever is overpriced at 9/4 in the Listed Totepool Two-year-old Trophy (3.20). She's receiving weight from each and every horse here.

She was last seen when coming third in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and a replication of that run should see her go close. Previously, she had no problems taking her maiden race at Beverley and word on the street is she's been showing plenty of promise at home.


John Gosden has a good record in the Totesport.com Cambridgeshire (3.40 Newmarket) but the 7/2 about Nationalism in a 35-runner competitive handicap is terrible value. It's fair to say that he's well treated under a penalty for his handicap win at Goodwood three weeks ago and I'm not disputing his claims here; but I think that backers are getting carried away and the bookmakers, it seems, are only happy to go along with it. Instead, I'm going to take an each-way chance on Luca Cumani's Star Right, which is generally available around 8/1.

The Footstepsinthesand gelding was coming home strongly in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh last month and Kieren Fallon is sure to make the most of it, provided the ground doesn't get too soft.

Indeed, the three-year-old has never raced on anything worse than good which is a bit of a worry as the description is for soft; but he seems like a versatile sort and connections are happy he'll give a good account of himself.

If you shop around, you may just get a double-figure price. There ain't too many races left that have eluded Fallon so let's hope he can put things right this afternoon.

today's selections

1.55 Newmarket: Together

3.20 Redcar: Ladies Are Forever

3.40 Newmarket: Star Right (e/w)

3.05 Longchamp: Workforce (tomorrow)

Irish Independent