Saturday 16 December 2017

Even Ryan can Force a smile

Moore delighted as Derby hero triumphs in Arc

Workforce was yesterday responsible for providing Michael Stoute with his first ever winner in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in the same month as the trainer would reach the age of 65, and he also provided us with the sight of a visually delighted Ryan Moore -- a rare occurrence indeed.

Moore usually keeps his feelings to himself with an iron-faced mask, but yesterday his delight was clear to see as he too collected Europe's premier race for the very first time.

And if any horse had put Moore in such mood before, it was Workforce when he won the Epsom Derby earlier this year in a record-setting time. However, his deplorable showing in the King George at Ascot last time meant that he was yesterday sent off at a starting price of 6/1 rather than 6/4.

Throughout the build-up to the race, Workforce's price was the subject of much debate. He shortened, then drifted, shortened again, before drifting out once more, and then when his final piece of work was satisfactory for all concerned his price levelled out around the 6/1 or 7/1 mark as concerns over both the ground and his flop last time meant punters couldn't really quite plunge in.

Moore rode the three-year-old with plenty of confidence and when they straightened up for home, he had more rivals in front of him than behind him.


However, the son of King's Best picked up from the three-furlong marker and reeled in the field with every stride before getting into a fascinating battle with Japanesse hopeful Nakayama Festa, who the Derby winner held by a head at the finish.

Unlike last year's winner, Sea The Stars, connections did hint at the possibility of Workforce staying in training as a four-year-old, but also added that the horse would make the decision on his future with his wellbeing.

In what was a roughly run race, with a lengthy stewards enquiry (not involving the winner) -- Fame And Glory could only manage fifth for Aidan O'Brien, Johnny Murtagh and the Ballydoyle team.

Fame And Glory was badly hammered by Plantuer, though, and the latter was in turn demoted to last following the enquiry but that interference all but cost the leading Irish challenger his chance of Arc success.

Apart from the obvious, it was easy to see why Moore released more smiles in a few minutes yesterday than he had in his whole career prior to the start of this season.

"The Derby and the Arc were my biggest two ambitions in racing and this horse has supplied them both," said the 27-year-old.

"He was back to his best today. I was pretty confident. You are always aware it will be a rough race and you need some luck, but he really wanted to do it and although the Japanese horse came to him, he stuck his neck out in the end."

Of Stoute, Moore concluded: "Everyone knows how good the boss is, but I suppose today he has just proved it all over again."

Workforce's win in the Arc yesterday was filling a major void in the CV of Stoute.

"If you have any ambitions starting out as a trainer, the Arc is a race you want to win," Stoute said. "It's been a long time and I'm delighted to win it, especially with him as he looked outstanding in the Derby before such a disappointment in the King George."

Referring back to that poor run, the trainer added: "We have been trying to figure that out ever since. I may have trained him too hard.

"We always had the Arc in mind after the King George but connections wanted me to be assured he was in the right shape.

"I had been happy with him and was hopeful today, but we wanted to make sure he ticked every box and we only confirmed him after his piece of work on Thursday."

The other highlight on Arc day came courtesy of the record breaking mare Goldikova who recorded an unprecedented 11th Group/Grade One success -- and she' not finished yet.

The five-year-old sensation was always travelling well near the front under regular partner Olivier Peslier and held off the Richard Hannon pair of Paco Boy and Dick Turpin to coast into the record books.

Peslier echoed the sentiments of so many racing followers by saying: "Many thanks to the owner for keeping the filly in training."

While trainer Freddie Head revealed plans of the quest for a third Breeder's Cup triumph and a 12th win at the top level. "I was scared about the ground and it was touch and go if she would run," said Head. "Oliver rode a great race. She's fantastic and this will probably be her last race in France and if she's okay she will go to the Breeder's Cup."

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