Although impressed by the winners of Sunday’s three Arc trials at the Paris track, Newmarket trainer Ed Dunlop would not be afraid to pitch his star filly into Europe’s premier middle-distance race – as long as he was satisfied with conditions.
“You’d have to be impressed by all three winners of the Arc trials,” he said.
“Obviously the ground was soft. I suppose the favourite Sarafina was the most impressive. Horses that win the Arc trials don’t always go on to win the Arc. We are not running away as a result of them.
“Her participation will come down to the ground but I will be in discussion with Mrs (Cristina) Patino (owner).”
Sarafina cemented her place at the head of the ante-post market with a cosy win in the Prix Foy.
Her trainer Alan de Royer-Dupre was delighted with that run and believes she will be cherry ripe for the Arc, in which she was third behind Workforce last year.
“It was a special race because she came between two horses. She won very easily and didn’t look to have a hard race,” said Royer-Dupre.
“If she doesn’t have a problem she could run a big race (in the Arc).”
Royer-Dupre has another serious Arc contender in French Derby victor Reliable Man, who booked his place by winning the Prix Niel.
“He is stronger than he was at the beginning of the season and I was very happy with what he did yesterday.
“The Arc is often the right race for a good three-year-old. If he progressed in the next three weeks he could be competitive.”
Meanwhile, Christophe Soumillon will miss next month’s Prix de l’Arc after receiving a 15-day suspension at Longchamp on Sunday.
The Belgian rider was hit with the lengthy ban after he was adjudged to have been responsible for the fall of Arrivederla in the Prix Al Wakra on Arc Trials Day.
His mount, Glasshoughton, passed the post in first place, but was disqualified and placed last.
Elsewhere, Connections of Excelebration will not rush into a decision over whether to tackle Frankel in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot next month.
Marco Botti’s three-year-old has twice been beaten by Henry Cecil’s champion colt this season, but Excelebration continues on the upgrade.
After a brace of Group Two wins in the German 2000 Guineas and the Hungerford Stakes, he landed a deserved first success at the highest level in the Prix du Moulin on soft ground at Longchamp on Sunday.
“I think his two options at this stage are Ascot and the Breeders’ Cup. We are not in a hurry to make a decision. There is plenty of time. We will see how the horse trains in the next couple of weeks,” said Botti.
* DUNCAN’S racing career closed on a high note on Sunday after his owner and breeder Philippa Cooper announced she had retired the six-year-old gelding who dead-heated with Jukebox Jury in the Irish St Leger.
Duncan will join his half-brother Samuel at Cooper’s Normandie Stud in West Sussex after recording the last and biggest win of a 19-race career that also included Group 2 successes in the Yorkshire Cup and Prix Foy.
Ladbrokes St Leger winner Masked Marvel will stay in training next year.
The John Gosden-trained colt claimed the final Classic of the season in exemplary fashion, fending off a strong field by upwards of three lengths.
Ominously for his future rivals, connections feel the powerful son of Montjeu is not yet the finished article.
Jeremy Brummitt, racing manager for his owner, Bjorn Nielsen, said: “I may be biased, but even in the Derby when he was eighth I felt the horse looked the most likely to make into the best four-year-old.
“I haven’t discussed with John what we’re going to do next this year. Our main aim is to make sure the horse has his normal regime until John comes back from the Keeneland sales in America.”
* SENSE OF PURPOSE is unlikely to run again this term after returning from Doncaster lame.
Dermot Weld’s trailblazing filly contested the Park Hill Stakes on Thursday after having won her last two starts, but finished last of the seven runners.
“She’s lame behind in one of her top-quarters, which is a shame,” said Stan Cosgrove, racing manager for her owners, Moyglare Stud Farm.
“She must have twisted something during the race as that definitely wasn’t her true form. When Pat (Smullen) pushed the button, she just didn’t pick up at all.
“I’d say it’s unlikely she’ll run again this season, but she might stay in training next year.”
* YESTERDAY’S fixture at Musselburgh was abandoned after the first race due to high winds.