By Nicholas Godfrey
So you know who won what on the Arc trials card at ParisLongchamp on Sunday. You might have seen Anthony Van Dyck beat Stradivarius and the wins of Mogul and Tarnawa – if not, have a look here – but here’s some other stuff you might like to know.
What’s going on?
Prix Foy: Stradivarius on course for Arc despite defeat
In a slowly run race hardly run to suit, star stayer Stradivarius was beaten a short neck by Anthony Van Dyck (Aidan O’Brien/Mickael Barzalona), registering his first victory since the 2019 Derby.
However, trainer John Gosden and owner Bjorn Nielsen both said the runner-up remains on course for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. “I was happy with the way he finished the race – his last furlong was his best furlong,” said Gosden.
“In that respect he’s run a good trial for the Arc and that’s where he’ll be going. He’s travelled over there now and behaved himself pretty well. I’m happy with the run as a trial.”
Nielsen told the Racing Post he “wouldn’t be put off for the Arc” and “the pace of an Arc would suit better.”
Nevertheless, Stradivarius is out to 16-1 with both Coral and Ladbrokes, who make Anthony Van Dyck a 25-1 chance. The latter is also 10-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Turf with Paddy Power.
Arc betting (Coral): 2 Love, 9-4 Enable, 8 Ghaiyyath, 10 Magical, 16 Fancy Blue, Stradivarius, 20 Daring Tact, Mogul, Persian King, Raabihah, Serpentine, Sottsass, Tarnawa.
GP de Paris: Mogul set for world tour
Mogul (Aidan O’Brien/Pierre-Charles Boudot), a 3.4m gns full-brother to the 2019 winner Japan, finally began to look the part of his price tag in earnest as he dented some big reputations in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, run in September instead of its usual July slot owing to coronavirus.
Don’t go rushing to back him for the Arc, however, as Aidan O’Brien is talking about high-profile contests farther afield for the son of Galileo, who may drop back in trip to 1m2f.
“Mogul is in the Arc [but] he’s in in Australia and there’s the Champion Stakes so he doesn’t have to go,” said O’Brien after his fifth victory in the race.
“We were thinking of going back to a mile and a quarter,” he added. “He could go to America, he could go to Hong Kong, so there’s a lot of options for him. He’s in the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate.”
Serpentine set for Arc after coming fourth
Running for the first time since his shock Derby victory at Epsom, Mogul’s stablemate Serpentine was ridden handy rather than making the running; a third Ballydoyle runner, the longshot Nobel Prize, did the honours this time.
Serpentine stayed on at one pace but Aidan O’Brien said he was pleased enough and the colt is an intended runner in the Arc. “He had a long break and was just starting back,” said the trainer. “I was very happy with how happy Christophe [Soumillon] was.”
Bubbles burst: English King and Port Guillaume
German Derby winner In Swoop stayed on in promising fashion to claim second on the line 2½ lengths behind Mogul but there were some disappointing efforts further back.
English King found little in the straight before finishing sixth under Frankie Dettori, while highly rated Prix Hocquart winner Port Guillaume – sent off 19-10 favourite – weakened right out to come home last of ten.
Vermeille: Arc weekend decision for Tarnawa team
All three main Arc trials went to Ireland as Tarnawa (Dermot Weld/Christophe Soumillon) provided Weld with his first G1 winner of 2020 in the Qatar Prix Vermeille. The second was to come about an hour later with Search For A Song in the Irish St Leger.
A daughter of Shamardal, Tarnawa was winning her fifth Group race altogether as she benefited from a slowish gallop to win the sprint to the line by three lengths from odds-on favourite Raabihah, who nosed out front-runner Dame Malliot for second place.
The Aga Khan team now have a decision to make about the winner, who would need to be supplemented for the Arc. Even though the Vermeille is run over the Arc course and distance, assistant trainer Mark Weld suggested Tarnawa is better suited by 1m2f – which makes the Prix de l’Opera a likely target. She is already entered for that race.
Soumillon commented: “She‘s a better filly at 2,000 metres so it depends how she comes back. A few years ago I won this with Mandesha and we won the Opera soon afterwards so we’ll see.”
Runner-up Raabihah is still an Arc probable, according to trainer Jean-Clause Rouget.
Shall we talk about it?
Mickael Barzalona (Anthony Van Dyck’s jockey): “There wasn’t much pace in the race so we decided to go forward. It was only a regular pace so we picked up the pace early as he doesn’t do anything quick. I thought when Stradivarius came to me my horse responded well. He’s probably got more speed in him than I thought. If he runs in the Arc, I think he would need a clear run – I don’t think he’d like bumping around him.”
John Gosden (Stradivarius’s trainer): “It was a very typical French trial – they didn’t go a great pace. In these races you can either make your own pace, run a pacemaker or just follow – I’ve known them go even slower than they did today, but they did go pretty steady.
“I was happy with the way he finished the race – his last furlong was his best furlong. In that respect he’s run a good trial for the Arc and that’s where he’ll be going. He’s travelled over there now and behaved himself pretty well. I’m happy with the run as a trial.”
Bjorn Nielsen (Stradivarius’s owner): “They walked through and Frankie said he should probably have made it, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve got to speak to John [Gosden]. It was a sprint finish and he got beat a neck so it was a good trial, but I have to see what John thinks. I wouldn’t be put off for the Arc by the way he ran today and the pace of an Arc would suit better.”
Aidan O’Brien (Mogul’s trainer): “We’re delighted with him. We always felt that he was only coming and I kept saying it. He was starting to show so much speed I kind of thought maybe we were going the wrong way and we should be going back to a mile and a quarter. I said to Pierre-Charles today ‘ride him for speed, take your time on him and drop him on the line’. He’s obviously a fast horse as he’s able to quicken. I thought we were going too far today over a mile and a half.”
Pierre-Charles Boudot (Mogul’s jockey): “Aidan was very confident before the race and he told me my horse has a nice turn of foot but can be a bit shy when he gets to the front; he can pull himself up. You have to be patient with him but the pacemaker did a good job and took us along at a good clip – that made sure the gaps appeared when I needed them. My horse progressed up the rail very easily and was still on the bridle turning in so I was very confident at that point.”
Francis-Henri Graffard (In Swoop’s trainer): “Before the race I would have been happy with second place, that’s a great run. We were worried that he might have been found out for a bit of speed. He just keeps grafting away and Ronan knows him, he knows to keep after him. Just as I was hoping, he has finished off really strongly. I think softer ground would play to his strengths.”
Aidan O’Brien (Serpentine’s trainer): “It was his first run back and Christophe was very happy with him. He had a good break, which we wanted to give him. I was thinking of starting him today and going back for the Arc, but we’ll see how he is.”
Mark Weld (assistant to Dermot Weld, Tarnawa’s trainer): “She’s a wonderful filly. This is a very, very prestigious race and this is a very, very good filly – she deserved the step up to Group 1. She was very impressive last time at Cork so we were hopeful – she’s very consistent and she’s from a great Aga Khan family. All these Aga Khan fillies get better and better – they’re a joy to train and we’re very, very lucky to have them.
“Today was probably the day for now but she was so impressive we’ll talk to Christophe again and see what he thinks. She has speed – she’s just a good filly and good fillies just tend to go the extra yard.”
Christophe Soumillon (Tarnawa’s jockey): “The pace was just OK, didn’t go too fast. I was able to get cover and when Pierre-Charles brought me to the lead I was very excited because I could feel my filly accelerate and she quickened really well. I knew I’d have the favourite [Raabihah] at my back and I was just hoping my filly wouldn’t get tired in the end and she did a great performance today.”
Jean-Claude Rouget (Raabihah’s trainer): “She ran well, but now she is against tougher rivals. She is changing category, she has proved that she is the best three-year-old filly in France. We will see how she is over the next two weeks, but if she is well in herself she will run in the Arc.”
• Find out more about French racing at the France Galop website