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Thursday 17 January 2019

Stoute fears ground will affect Workforce

MICHAEL STOUTE has voiced his concerns about the prospect of fast ground for last year's winner Workforce in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday.

The Newmarket trainer does not want firm conditions in Paris for the four-year-old, who landed Europe's premier all-aged middle-distance race last season.

"I've been really happy with his preparation, but disappointed to hear about the weather forecast because he's a big, heavy horse and we do like good ground for him," Stoute said.

"We're a long way from it at the moment and someone's going to have a look at the track and give us an update. I am concerned about the ground. We're very happy with his condition and it looks a particularly strong renewal of the Arc this year.

"It's disappointing we're having this Indian summer in Paris."

John Gosden's impressive St Leger winner Masked Marvel was among three horses added to the field today at a cost of ¤100,000.

The Clarehaven handler had taken the decision after the ground was deemed too fast for his initial intended runner in the race, King George hero Nathaniel. Also put in at the final supplementary stage were Andre Fabre's Meandre and the improving German filly Danedream.

Another entry given the green light by connections was Snow Fairy.

Ed Dunlop's globetrotter gave So You Think a huge fright in the Irish Champion Stakes and really came into her own at this stage of the season last year, winning two huge pots in Asia.



Successes

Frankie Dettori has replaced Ryan Moore in the saddle for her last two races and has enjoyed many big-race successes with Dunlop, including one on Ouija Board at the Breeders' Cup.

With the sun shining all week in Paris, ground conditions are set to be in her favour, leading Dunlop to tweet: "Decision made, SF runs in the Arc!! Exciting or what and Frankie rides!!"

Aidan O'Brien has taken out Seville, but the Ballydoyle handler is still represented by So You Think, Treasure Beach and St Nicholas Abbey.

Alain de Royer-Dupre reports ante-post favourite Sarafina in top shape as she bids to improve on her third place 12 months ago, although he, too, is conscious of ground conditions.

"The Arc was the target from the beginning of the season. She is ready and fresh," the French trainer said.

"She was third in the race last year, it was a terrible race for her and we are afraid about the pace again.

"She doesn't need too much work and is easy to train. She has a great ability to pass horses in a short space of time -- she has a turn of foot. This year, she looks more mature but her weight is the same and she looks the same."

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