Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: soft ground unlikely to disrupt Aidan O’Brien’s bid for third victory

Horse Racing Love set to run in Arc for Aidan O'Brien
Love: the Royal Ascot winner on target to run in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Aidan O’Brien despite forecast rain. Photo: Megan Ridgwell

By Jon Lees

France: Only “very bad” conditions will disrupt Aidan O’Brien’s plan to run three challengers in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as he confirmed he expected Love to join Snowfall and Broome despite a wet forecast.

Love had been the long-time favourite for the 2020 Arc when O’Brien decided not to declare the filly because the going at ParisLongchamp had turned heavy.

The ground was good to soft on Wednesday with rain forecast for the morning of the big race but the Ballydoyle trainer said this time the filly was on target to take her place in the field, in which she will be ridden by Frankie Dettori.

“I think she will be fine on soft ground,” he said. “Obviously she is a very good mover so the better the ground, the better it will suit her. 

“But she is a year older now. We had planned on running her unless it was going to get heavy or turn into very bad ground. Hopefully I don’t think that is going to happen.”

The O’Brien team will be led by another filly Snowfall, the Oaks, Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks winner whose unbeaten run came to an end in the Prix Vermeille, for which she went off the 1-5 favourite under Dettori.

Despite that shock defeat behind Teona, O’Brien was taking only positives out of the display as he addressed the media ahead of Arc weekend in which he hopes to add to previous triumphs with Dylan Thomas (2007) and Found (2016).

“The Vermeille was slowly run,” he said. “The last time Frankie rode her it was a fast run race on slow ground. This was a slowly run race on fast ground, a completely different set of circumstances.

“We were delighted with her run and delighted that we ran her because we saw how she behaved on better ground on a track like Longchamp. That’s always an advantage before a big race. It’s often better if you get beat when things don’t go right, than win when everything goes right.”

Neither was he disheartened by Love’s defeat by La Petite Coco in the G2 Blandford Stakes, the third loss of the season for last year’s 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner.

“Love won first time out in Ascot in the Prince of Wales which is a very big race and difficult to win first time out,” he said. “The next twice we felt the tempo of the race didn’t really suit her. She still ran two very good races.”

He added: “We were happy with her last run where she was giving 9lb to a very good filly rated 110, and she just got caught on the line. We used it as a prep for the Arc. It was a mile and a quarter on a right-handed bend like Longchamp would be. She seems to have come out of the race very well.”

Ryan Moore partners Snowfall with Yutaka Take taking the mount on Broome, whose four victories this year include the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

“We kept Broome to a mile and a quarter for the first half of the season,” said O’Brien. “His first run at a mile and a half was in Saint-Cloud. He went to Ascot and ran well in the King George, but just missed the kick and ended up further back than we wanted. We were delighted with his run in the Arc Trial too.

“He is a horse that gets the trip very well. He is very uncomplicated and he handles all types ground. He will be ridden forward. That’s the way we always ride him. He gets a mile and a half very well so you can let him bowl along.”

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe betting (Coral): 5-2 Tarnawa, 11-4 Adayar, 9-2 Hurricane Lane, 11-2 Snowfall, 8 Chrono Genesis, 20 Deep Bond, Love, Raabihah, Teona, 33 Alenquer, Sealiway, 50 Mojo Star, Torquator Tasso, 66 Broome, Bubble Gift, 80 Baby Rider,

• Check out the Arc field on the France Galop website

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