Hurricane Run heads a field of 15 declared for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with owner Michael Tabor not wishing to swap his charge for anything else in the end-of-season championship at Longchamp.
He is, however, wary of the challenge of Shawanda and Vodafone Derby hero Motivator.
Trained by Andre Fabre, Hurricane Run has been a leading fancy since landing the Irish Derby and warmed up for the Group One event by landing the Prix Niel earlier this month.
“He is fine and he’s with a top trainer so you couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Tabor.
“The filly (Shawanda) you’ve got to respect and Motivator as well. He’s a Derby winner and has run well in his races since – he ran well in the Champion against Oratorio.
“I don’t think I’d swap our chances, but if I owned Motivator I’d probably be saying the same thing.”
Drawn in stall six, Hurricane Run was transferred into Tabor’s ownership before the Irish Derby and has been ridden on his two subsequent starts by Coolmore’s retained jockey Kieren Fallon.
The partnership beat another Coolmore horse, Scorpion, when winning the Irish Classic and it is the Curragh runner-up and subsequent St Leger winner, drawn in stall 10, that Fallon fears in the Paris spectacle.
“I would like some rain for Hurricane Run as he definitely likes to get his toe in to be at his best, whereas Scorpion wants top of the ground, and Scorpion will be hard to beat if he gets his ground,” he told Racing UK.
“I want to win, but if I don’t I would love to see Scorpion win for the yard but, either way, we will be happy.”
France are also responsible for the second-favourite Shawanda, who hails from the yard of Alain de Royer-Dupre and heads into the race after winning her last five starts, which included an impressive success in the Irish Oaks.
The Aga Khan’s filly scooped the Prix Vermeille on her only start since and will again be ridden by Christophe Soumillon.
However, the jockey rode Hurricane Run before his transfer to Tabor’s ownership and rates the colt as his main danger.
He told At The Races: “We have a good chance in the Arc, but Hurricane Run should be favourite because the fillies are often not as good as the colts.
“I am very confident for my filly, though, but I am not too excited as I know that if she doesn’t win because she is not good enough, then that is life.”
Shawanda has been given the rail draw in stall one, which Royer-Dupre described as far from ideal.
“It is not the best draw you can get but Pride, my other representative, is drawn 14 which is even worse,” he said.
“Actually, I’d rather have it the other way around with Shawanda outside and Pride along the rail.
“The ground will be the key factor at the start. If it is soft, the inside numbers should be advantageous but with a faster course, the rail would be favourite.”
Motivator, drawn eight, leads a five-strong British challenge along with Godolphin’s Cherry Mix runner-up in the Arc last year.
Marcus Tregoning’s Mubtaker, who finished second to Dalakhani in 2003, the Clive Brittain-trained Warrsan and David Elsworth’s Norse Dancer complete the raiding party and are drawn nine, two and five respectively.
“Norse Dancer has never in 20 attempts won a Group One and Sunday would be a good day to put it right,” said Elsworth.
Norse Dancer put up one of the performances of his career when chasing home Azamour and last year’s Arc hero Bago in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in July, but was below-par when eighth in the Irish Champion Stakes.
“He went to Ireland and I was a little concerned with his well-being,” Elsworth continued.
“He has a wonderful constitution and he stands his races very well but he did come back from York (when fifth in the Juddmonte International) with a temperature.
“He had an infection and he got over it a week or 10 days before Ireland. I wasn’t sure whether he’d actually made a full recovery and his running that day might have suggested he hadn’t.
“He’s had two runs over a mile and a half – he was second in the King George and fourth in the Derby. He was beaten two lengths in the Derby and a good deal less in the King George so we go there with a smart hat and a bit of optimism.”
Cherry Mix (stall 11) was trained by Fabre when going down by half a length in the race 12 months ago and finished fifth in the Grosser Volkswagen Preis von Baden on his only European start for his new connections.
“Cherry Mix had his final piece of work earlier this week and is in good form. He is doing very well and we are happy with him,” trainer Saeed bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.
“We were a bit disappointed by his run in Germany but think softer ground will help him a lot – soft ground and a mile and a half are the key for him.”
As well as the top two in the market, the French-trained hopes include Bago (13) and Ascot Gold Cup hero Westerner (four).
Shawanda will have the benefit of a pacemaker in Windya, while Fabre has a second string to his bow in ex-German horse and Prix Foy third Shirocco, with Samando and Voltmeter completing the home contingent.
Alkaased winner of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and runner-up in the Prix Foy, was the only withdrawal following the final declarations as Luca Cumani’s charge has an infected cut on his leg.
“He has a little cut on his leg and despite all the preventative measures, it has become infected,” said the Bedford House handler.
“The horse was sore when he pulled out this morning and with the rules on medication you can use, we can’t get it right by Sunday so we have just had to grit our teeth.
“I’m very disappointed for the owners, maybe I will get another chance, but I’m very disappointed for them.”