Workforce in good shape for Arc date with destiny

Michael Stoute believes his Derby hero Workforce is ready to “do himself justice” in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday.

The King’s Best colt looked destined for greatness after running away with the Epsom Classic by seven lengths, but he then beat only one home when odds-on for Ascot’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

His Arc participation has remained right in the balance since, with connections only making a final decision to let him take his chance after a routine workout on Thursday morning.

“We think he’s in good shape and we’re looking forward to him running now,” said Stoute, who has yet to win the race..

“He was such a disappointment in the King George it was in the punters interest for us to tell them where we stood.

“We said we were going to make a late decision on whether we were going to run or not, coming off such a disappointing and inexplicable race, and we stuck to it.

“I wouldn’t be confident that he’ll reproduce that Epsom form, but we just think he’s in good shape to do himself justice. He should be okay on soft ground.”

Christophe Lemaire is in bullish mood as he prepares to bid for a first victory on ante-post favourite Behkabad.

The three-year-old has course form having won the Grand Prix de Paris and the Prix Niel on his last couple of starts, and Lemaire can hardly wait for Sunday to arrive.

“I’m very confident and I think the horse will be 100% fit,” said Lemaire.

“We have a good draw in stall nine and his prep race was very good. All the lights are green.”

The horse Lemaire rejected to ride Behkabad is the Alain de Royer-Dupre trained Sarafina, also owned by the Aga Khan.

The three-year-old lost her unbeaten record when third behind Midday in the Prix Vermeille but Lemaire would not be surprised to see her run well.

“She also has a good draw as well in stall three and from there it will be easier for Gerald (Mosse) to settle her in a good position,” Lemaire continued.

“There is a little doubt for her with the trip but being on the inside will be a big boost for her and I think she can run very well.”

A total of 20 runners are set to go to post and it is worth noting that the last horse to win from a double-figure draw was Dalakhani in 2003.

Aidan O’Brien’s main hope, Fame And Glory, is drawn right on the rail in stall one.

His big-race jockey Johnny Murtagh tasted Arc glory on Sinndar in 2000 and is excited about his chances this time around.

“He’s in good form. Seamus (Heffernan) rode him work the other morning and told me he was very happy with him,” said Murtagh.

“This has been his main target all year.

“He ran in the race last year (sixth) and he’s definitely strengthened up a lot since last year and he’s a different horse now.”

O’Brien also saddles Irish Champion Stakes hero Cape Blanco (stall 11), the mount of Christophe Soumillon, as well as likely pacemaker Midas Touch.

William Buick will bid to cap a dream first season as stable jockey to John Gosden when he takes the ride on Duncan, winner of the Prix Foy on his latest start.

Freddie Head saddles Marinous, who had subsequent Canadian International winner Redwood behind when winning the Grand Prix De Deauville on his latest appearance.

“He’s very well and has kept his form well. He stays and will like the ground,” said Head.

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