Ectot and Certain set to run in Arc despite ground

Connections of Ectot and Avenir Certain remain unconcerned by ground conditions at Longchamp as Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe draws ever closer.

The Elie Lellouche-trained Ectot and Jean-Claude Rouget’s Avenir Certain are two of the headline acts among the 20 horses still in contention for the mile-and-a-half showpiece.

Gerard Augustin-Normand part-owns both runners, with his retained rider Gregory Benoist opting to partner Ectot, who won on good ground at Longchamp. It was officially very soft at Deauville when Avenir Certain triumphed.

“The weather is good and I think the forecast is for a nice weekend,” said Augustin-Normand’s racing manager Sylvain Vidal. “I’d expect the ground to be good, or between good and soft. I’d expect a little bit of ease maybe, but not soft ground.

“I don’t think the ground will be too important as our horses have run well in different conditions before, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

It is due to be warm and dry in Paris on Friday with some rain forecast for Saturday ahead of a fine, although fresh, day on Sunday.

A Met Office spokesman said: “Friday (is forecast to be) a fine day with light winds and plenty of sunshine, with highs reaching a very warm 23C falling to a muggy 16C overnight.

“Saturday (should be) a dry and fine morning but through the afternoon, cloud will thicken to give some showers or longer spells of rain by the evening. It will be a cooler day with a high of 21C.

“After a largely dry night, it will be a fine day (on Sunday) with cloud breaking at times to allow some sunshine. With winds switching to a more northerly direction, it will be a much fresher day, with a high of 15C.”

Taghrooda heads the ante-post markets for the Arc and jockey Paul Hanagan is waiting to see where his Classic-winning filly is drawn before he starts to map out his big-race tactics.

Winner of the Investec Oaks and King George, Taghrooda was reported to be coming into season after she was beaten half a length by Tapestry in the Yorkshire Oaks at York back in August.

She will have chance to avenge that defeat as the Aidan O’Brien-trained Tapestry has been supplemented.

With a large field set to go to post, there are bound to be some hard luck stories after the race, but Hanagan believes Taghrooda will rise to the challenge if things get a little tight in running. He said: “She won’t shy from anything really, she can hold her own.

“She’s a big filly, she rides kind of like a colt so that (a big field) wouldn’t worry me.

“It’s hard to say yet (how the race may pan out) because we don’t definitely know what is going to run yet and we don’t know where we’re going to be drawn. It’s a bit early to be going into tactics.”

Connections of Tapestry (inset) forked out €120,000 to add the filly to the field despite the fact she put up no kind of show when only ninth in the one-mile Matron Stakes on her most recent outing.

Ryan Moore is set to ride and Hanagan thinks it is worth the O’Brien team taking a chance.

He added: “It was a lot of money (to supplement Tapestry) but I think she would have to go and have a run there – she’s a very good filly.”

Tapestry was the sole supplementary entry, with Chicquita and Ruler Of The World, the likely mounts of Joseph O’Brien and Frankie Dettori respectively, also representing Ballydoyle.


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