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Arc countdown: All systems go for Appleby aces and Tarnawa primed

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Sun 26 Sep 2021

The 100th running of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is going to be bereft of any meaningful French challenge but a vintage renewal is still on the cards.

Charlie Appleby confirmed on Sunday that Adayar and Hurricane Lane are on course to run, while Aidan O'Brien looks like being represented by Snowfall, Love and Broome.

Dermot Weld, trainer of Tarnawa, the ante-post favourite, told Racing TV at The Curragh that his star mare's build-up had gone to plan and that she was ready for an "above-average" renewal.

Weld spoke with Gary O'Brien at The Curragh

"Her preparation has gone well. It's been pretty straightforward and there's nothing dramatic to do with her," Weld said. "She's a fit filly and I'm happy with her."

Weld added that no decision on when she flies over has been taken, but two Group One wins in France last autumn are testament to the fact that she takes travelling in her stride. "I think it's an above-average race but I wouldn't swap my filly," he added.

Christophe Soumillon said on Luck On Sunday that he cannot wait to renew his partnership with Tarnawa, the 5-2 favourite.

The Belgian teamed up with the Dermot Weld-trained mare to win both the Prix Vermeille and Prix de l’Opera last term and was due to be aboard Tarnawa at the Breeders’ Cup before a failed Covid-19 test scuppered his participation.

Colin Keane stepped in for Soumillon at Keeneland and steered Taranawa to a length victory, staying in the saddle for her two runs so far this year.

Soumillon spoke about Tarnawa's attributes on Luck On Sunday

The five-year-old won the Ballyroan Stakes on her reappearance, and lost little in defeat to St Mark’s Basilica in an epic Irish Champion Stakes, beaten three-quarters of a length after being carried right in the finish.

Soumillon will be on the daughter of Shamardal at ParisLongchamp, as he is the retained rider in France for owner the Aga Khan. He won the Arc for the Aga Khan with Dalakhani (2003) and the magnificent Zarkarva (2008) and he can hardly wait to try and improve that tally.

"My filly, she's a superstar," he said. "There is nothing bad to say about her, although she can give us some stress in front of the gates when she does not want to go in. [Once racing] she's very honest and it's amazing how she can finish her races.”

Of the opposition, he said: "I really like Charlie Appleby's horses. They look really strong and, for me, if you have a really good three-year-old you have a big advantage at the weights, and it's always very difficult, especially on soft going, to make up ground giving a lot of weight."

Adayar and Hurricane Lane are reported in top shape by Appleby.

Watch a full replay of the Derby

The Frankel colts worked on Saturday. James Doyle was aboard Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger winner Hurricane Lane for the first time as William Buick has sided with Derby and King George hero Adayar.

The only stumbling block to Hurricane Lane’s participation would be if the ground threatened to become fast. He is quoted at a general 6-1, with Adayar a best-priced 3-1.

Appleby said: “I’m very pleased with both horses this morning. As we know, Adayar met with that setback before the Arc trials and missed two pieces of work – which we felt was enough to make us not go to the trials, because as we said before he’s a horse that didn’t need to earn his stripes.

“I didn’t want to be pushing a horse into a trial, having missed two pieces of work going in. Since then he’s done very well – we had a very easy piece of work last Saturday, and the first chance William had to sit on him was on Wednesday of this week.

“All the signs were very good, William was pleased with him – he said he felt great and was fresh on the back of having that easy period. He took him through the gallop very well and picked up well. He came out of that gallop in good order and went back into a nice, routine gallop yesterday morning – more of a stronger pace in the gallop, and he drew up it very well, again ridden by William.

Watch how Hurricane Lane won the Irish Derby

“Again I’d emphasise William was very happy with him. He was happy with him on Wednesday, and that’s why after discussions with him he was the horse he felt he would like to ride in the Arc. William is obviously first jockey, and if that is the horse he chooses to ride then I feel that’s positive going into any race.

“We’re very pleased with the way Adayar is – and most importantly how he has come out of both of those gallops, Wednesday and yesterday.”

While Hurricane Lane went into unchartered waters at Doncaster trip-wise, his trainer feels he has taken his Leger exertions particularly well.

He said: “I felt the St Leger was the easiest of his last three victories. I know the Grand Prix de Paris was very emphatic, but what we’ve seen of him and the figures that we get to see and his general well-being, that’s the race he seems to have come out of the best. He hadn’t done a piece of work until yesterday morning – he’d gone through routine exercise, but that was his first solid piece of work.

“James was in the saddle and couldn’t have been any happier – he moved well and did his usual work. He’s always been a pleasing work horse. He’s not an exciting work horse – neither are really – but it’s just the mannerism in the way they do it, they do it the right way round.

“We’re very pleased with the way he has come out of it this morning as well.”

The Moulton Paddocks handler concluded: “After discussions, we’re very confident if we can have a good week this week that we have two horses going into an Arc in great shape.

“Two exciting horses with two different profiles – and with the way the forecast looks at the moment, it looks as if there’s going to be a bit of rain during the course of the week, and that will suit us.

“The only negative I can give to the participation of Hurricane Lane is if it was to become fast ground. That is a conversation that would have to take place nearer the time.”

Aidan O’Brien, speaking from the Curragh, told presenter Gary O'Brien that his dual Classic winners, Snowfall and Love, are set to be joined in the line-up by another Group One winner in Broome.

Frankie Dettori has already won the Arc on a record six occasions and Love looks like being his 32nd ride in the mile-and-a-half showpiece, with Ryan Moore being reunited with Snowfall, runaway winner of the Oaks and Irish equivalent.

It says much for the depth of this year’s running, plus a dip in her own form, that Love is available at 33-1, having been a long-time favourite for last year’s race, which she missed because of deep ground.

Such conditions seem unlikely next weekend, with a relatively dry week predicted in Paris. However, Saturday is forecast to be showery and there is the prospect of more rain on the day of the race.

That will give some concern to connections of Japan’s big hope this year, Chrono Genesis. The general 10-1 chance was beaten a neck by Mishriff in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in march and has since raced just once, when winning in Grade One company at Hanshin in June.

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