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Postponed is the popular choice for Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

28/09/2016

Postponed has developed into a G1 winning machine and consequently will start a warm favourite for the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on Sunday.

However Europe's richest and most prestigious race wouldn't be the occasion it is without a high class group assembling against the protagonist, and, as Postponed's Newmarket-based trainer Roger Varian says: "In the Arc I don't think you single one horse out as your big danger. I think it is full of dangers." Varian adds more positively: "Our guy's important work is done and he's now in peak shape."

And what plenty of observers like about Postponed - winner of his last six starts, four at G1 level - is that his latest slick victory came in August's Juddmonte International at York despite an imperfect preparation when a virus was causing havoc in the stable at the time.

Postponed is a five-year-old invariably ridden with precision by Andrea Atzeni - but the main threats on Sunday would appear to come from the three-year-old generation. Makahiki, for example.

The son of Deep Impact had the Arc on his agenda even before he won the G1 Japanese Derby in May and a large contingent from his homeland are expected in Chantilly to see if he can finally deliver a Japanese-trained Arc winner. 

Earlier this month Christophe Lemaire poked Makahiki's nose in front right on the wire in the G2 Prix Niel, giving the distinct impression that there was a ton of improvement to come between that famous Arc trial and the big race itself. That impression was confirmed after a sharp and stylish piece of work earlier this week.

Irish-trained Harzand won both the English and Irish Derby earlier in the summer, even overcoming a race day injury scare at Epsom before bouncing back to double up at The Curragh. 

He was struck into during the G1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown this month but yet again seems to have made a rapid recovery. "He has extraordinary healing power. He's able to take it like all the good ones and has a respectable chance on Sunday," reckons jockey Pat Smullen of the son of Arc winner Sea The Stars, Irish-trained by Dermot Weld.

Meanwhile the home nation's defense will become much stronger if brilliant Irish Champion Stakes winner Almanzor joins the party, but trainer Jean-Claude Rouget, who is enjoying incredible success this season, is playing his hand very late.

Unlike at Longchamp where the Arc is traditionally run, the ground tends to dry much quicker at Chantilly and, in any case, with little rain predicted, Sunday's spectacular is expected to take place on good or even fast ground. Another crucial difference with Longchamp is that there is no evidence to suggest that a high gate over Chantilly's 2400m is a disadvantage. Indeed jockey Maxime Guyon said this week that he thinks it may even be beneficial.

Frankie Dettori has ridden in the Arc 27 times and won it for the fourth time last year on Golden Horn. He is hoping to pick up a late mount but either way he has a strong chance of winning the G1 Prix de L'Opera - the other simulcast race from Chantilly - on board the John Gosden-trained So Mi Dar. Unbeaten in all four starts, she has some devastating acceleration and is expected to be ideally suited to Chantilly's 2000m track.

 

 

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