Taghrooda set for Arc after Newmarket gallop

Taghrooda delighted connections in a workout over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket yesterday as part of her preparation for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday week.

Taghrooda set for Arc after Newmarket gallop

The John Gosden-trained filly heads the ante-post market for the Longchamp showpiece with some bookmakers, despite losing her 100 per cent record with a shock defeat in the Yorkshire Oaks last month.

However, Taghrooda appears to have put that behind her as she continued her build-up for the Arc in a racecourse gallop, in which she was accompanied by a lead horse.

The Investec Oaks and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner was partnered in the exercise by Paul Hanagan, retained rider to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

“She worked this morning and, touch-wood, it went well,” said Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager Angus Gold.

“Paul was very happy with her. She looked good, moved well and seemed enthusiastic, so it’s so far, so good.

“The plan is very much to go for the Arc.

“Today was a case of taking her away to give her a change of scenery. She’ll have another gallop. I don’t know when, it will be up to John.

“The main thing was she seemed enthusiastic and Paul was delighted with her.”

Meanwhile Gregory Benoist has elected to ride Ectot over Avenir Certain in the Arc.

It was said to be a tough decision for the jockey, he has sided with the Elie Lellouche-trained colt, who burst into the picture with victory in the Prix Niel on Arc Trials day, in his first race for five months.

Christophe Lemaire will partner the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Avenir Certain, winner of the French 1000 Guineas and the French Oaks under Benoist.

“Gregory Benoist will ride Ectot and Christophe Lemaire will ride Avenir Certain,” said Sylvain Vidal, racing manager to Gerard Augustin-Normand, who part-owns both horses.

Al Shaqab Racing recently bought a major interest in Ectot, meaning Frankie Dettori could have been in line for the ride had Benoist chosen Avenir Certain.

Vidal continued: “Both horses are very well and it was very hard for Gregory to choose between them.

“Gregory was in Pau on Tuesday to ride Avenir Certain in a very good gallop, so it was very hard to choose one, but he did. Ectot is not difficult to ride, but has a lot of character, so for the team I think this was the best decision.

“Avenir Certain is very easy to ride and Ectot could be a little bit tense in the race. Gregory Benoist has always ridden him, so he knows him very well. He won his first Group One race on him (the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in November) as well.”

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