Workforce to take Arc chance as O’Brien’s ground worries continue

WORKFORCE will take his chance in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday.

Connections made the protracted decision to send the Investec Derby winner to France following an encouraging piece of routine work on Thursday morning at Newmarket.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “He just had a nice smooth piece of work about four and a half furlongs for a blow-out. He had a normal blow and moved well.

“I was mystified when the horse’s price went out the other day (on the exchanges). Someone has a few pounds on and the whole thing goes weird.

“The whole point of waiting until the last moment that he was going to go is because he really is an important horse to us. We didn’t want to mess people around and they knew from the beginning if they were betting on the horse well in advance then there was a good deal of risk involved.”

Grimthorpe believes Workforce will have no trouble handling the rain-softened ground.

“It is going to be pretty soft, although I don’t think it’s going to be quite as bad as everyone thinks it might be,” he went on.

“They had no rain there yesterday and there is going to be the odd shower definitely, so it’s going to be on the soft side.”

The Michael Stoute-trained colt has raced just once since his Epsom demolition, when a disappointing fifth behind stablemate Harbinger in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Recent bulletins from the gallops have been increasingly upbeat, however, and he heads to Paris prominent in the ante-post markets, with Stoute in search of his first Arc winner.

Aidan O’Brien, meanwhile, reiterated his concerns about the likelihood of soft ground at Longchamp.

Fame And Glory and Cape Blanco are Ballydoyle’s main hopes for the 2010 French showpiece.

“Very soft ground wouldn’t be ideal for any of them,” said O’Brien. “The plan is still that Fame And Glory and Cape Blanco will run, but we’re hoping they don’t get too much rain on Saturday.”

Ballydoyle have whittled down their squad to five runners after Flying Cross and Joshua Tree were both removed.

Lope De Vega and Marinous have been supplemented for the race.

La Boum, who was third behind Marinous at Deauville, was the other defector. A total of 22 horses now stand their ground.

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