Longchamp 'perfect' for Sunday's Arc

Conditions are expected to be perfect for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe-Lucien Barriere, officials at Longchamp predicted today.

Conditions are expected to be perfect for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe-Lucien Barriere, officials at Longchamp predicted today.

With six days to go until the Group One showpiece, clerk of the course Gerard Grandchamp anticipates genuinely good ground for the prestigious meeting.

Speaking this morning after walking the track, he said: “The track could not be in better shape.

“The penetrometer reading was 3.4 (good to soft ground) but my barometer is reading high, and with little or no rain expected, I anticipate that it will be 3.0 (good ground) on Sunday.”

Sweltering conditions in Paris over the past few months, with temperatures reaching as high as 40 degrees, have not presented a problem for Grandchamp.

He said: “There have been no hosepipe restrictions despite the persistent heat and we have had absolutely no problems.

“As far as the Arc field itself is concerned my current prediction would be for 12 or 13 horses but that could change in the next few days.”

Ange Gabriel warmed up for the Arc with some light work at his trainer Eric Libaud’s base in the Loire Valley this morning.

The grey entire has not finished out of the first three in 11 races during the past 18 months, winning the Prix Foy over the Arc’s course and distance last time out.

“I did not want to do too much with him,” Libaud explained.

“I’m trying to keep him fresh for Sunday, and over the next couple of days, the horse will tell me whether I have succeeded or not.

“As for the race itself, Ange Gabriel is a tough five-year-old with big race experience around the world and I think that will stand him in very good stead.”

Unbeaten in his last three starts, he won his third Group One in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on his penultimate outing.

While Libaud rates the current Arc favourite – Dalakhani – as a threat, he sees the main danger elsewhere in the field.

He added: “Dalakhani is a big danger of course but I think I fear High Chaparral most of all.”

Richard Hills, Mubtaker’s jockey also fears High Chaparral.

Mubtaker will be tackling Group One company for the first time, but heads into the Arc having won his last four races.

When asked which of the runners he regarded as the main dangers in the French showpiece, Hills was quick to put forward the two most recent Vodafone Derby winners.

“Well obviously High Chaparral and Kris Kin – that was still a very good run last time in France and he had his excuses in that race – so they are all there to beat in a race like this,” he told the BBC.

“It’s obviously an outstanding race but the three-year-olds, I think, have done very well this year.

“High Chaparral has won the Irish Champion but there was probably an unlucky loser in the race. But a mile and a half with good ground, or good to soft, would help him.

“I think it is going to be a great race.

“Mubtaker has really deserved to get himself there, he’s worked up from the bottom and Sheikh Hamdan, very sportingly, decided to give him his chance,” he added.

Marcus Tregoning’s charge is versatile horse having recently won over distances ranging from 10 to 13 furlongs.

He recorded a five-length victory in the Coral September Stakes on his last start having previously beaten subsequent dual German Group One winner Mamool in the Stan James Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

“He is great, he gives 100 per cent and very rarely runs a poor race,” explained Hills.

“He is a horse that has got a big heart and its obviously a big race but he won’t be in there without lack of trying.”

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