Australian superstar So You Think and defending champion Workforce appear set to clash once again as a field of 16 runners were declared for the $5,437,800 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) Oct. 2.
So You Think is one of three runners that will represent trainer Aidan O’Brien, who won the race in 2007 with Dylan Thomas. The son of High Chaparral, a two-time Cox Plate (Aus-I) winner, has been nearly perfect since being transferred to O’Brien’s yard, winning four of five starts, three in group I company.
So You Think has faced two of his fellow Arc contenders before, and been successful each time. In the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) in July, the 5-year-old horse defeated Workforce by a half-length, with Snow Fairy finishing fourth. In his most recent start, the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) Sept. 3, So You Think turned back the challenge of Snow Fairy to win by a half-length.
Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Workforce will be making just his fourth start this season as he seeks to defend his 2010 Arc title. The 4-year-old son of King’s Best has been carefully managed by trainer Sir Michael Stoute, who is hoping the colt will reach his peak this fall. In his three starts this season, Workforce has one win and two seconds. He most recently finished second to Nathaniel in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) July 23.
Japan will be represented by two tough contenders, Nakayama Festa and Hiruno D’Amour. Nakayama Festa, a 5-year-old son of Stay Gold, will be hoping to have a better result in the race than last year, when he came up just a head short to Workforce. This will be just the second start of the year for the Yoshitaka Ninomiya-trained horse, who most recently finished fourth (beaten 3 ¼ lengths) to Sarafina in the Qatar Prix Foy (Fr-II) Sept. 11.
Hiruno D’Amour has had a strong season this year, never finishing out of the money while capturing two of his five starts. One of those victories came in the prestigious Tenno Sho-Spring (Jpn-I), run over a grueling 16 furlongs. The 4-year-old colt by Manhattan Café also prepped for the Arc by running in the Prix Foy, where he came up just a neck short of catching Sarafina for the victory.
Sarafina leads a strong roster of six fillies that will take their chances in the Arc. Alain de Royer-Dupre trains the 4-year-old daughter of Refuse to Bend for the Aga Khan. Sarafina has had a banner year this season, winning three of her four starts. One of those victories came in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I), where she soundly defeated Cirrus des Aigles and Silver Pond. Sarafina hopes to improve off of her third-place finish to Workforce in last year’s race.
Trainer Ed Dunlop will send out Snow Fairy in the Arc. The globe-trotting daughter of Intikhab has won four group I races so far in her career. In addition to capturing both the Investec Oaks (Eng-I) and Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) last year, she also traveled to the Far East, where she won the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (Jpn-I) and the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (HK-I).
The 4-year-old filly has yet to find the winner’s circle in three starts so far this year, but certainly come close, finishing second on two occasions. In the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (Eng-I), which was just her second start of the year, she ran into a razor sharp Midday, who defeated her by two lengths. Most recently, Snow Fairy came to within a half-length of defeating So You Think in the Irish Champion.
Galikova, a 3-year-old daughter of Galileo, has been rounding into form this fall, with her most recent start resulting in a 2 1/2-length victory in the Qatar Prix Vermeille (Fr-I) Sept. 11. That race marked the first group I victory for the Freddy Head-trained filly, who now boasts a record of five wins from seven starts. Her only poor showing came last year as a juvenile, when she finished fifth in the Total Prix Marcel Boussac (Fr-I) in just her second career start. It could be a banner day for the connections of this beautifully-bred filly. In the race immediately preceding the Arc, older half sister Goldikova will try to defend her title in the Qatar Prix de la Foret (Fr-I).
Germany’s Danedream was one of three runners supplemented to the Arc on Sept. 29. Trained by Peter Schiergen, the 3-year-old daughter of Lomitas has been ultra-consistent this year, winning three of her six starts. Racing in the colors of Gestut Berg Eberstein, Danedream enters the Arc on a two-race winning streak, having notched victories over older horses in both the Grosser Preis von Berlin (Ger-I) and the Longines Grosser Preis von Baden (Ger-I). She also captured the Oaks d’Italia (It-II) over her own sex earlier this season.
Andre Fabre will be represented by Meandre in the Arc, who was one of the three runners that was supplemented to the race. The gray son of Slickly won both the listed Prix de l’Avre and the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I) over this same course and distance earlier this year, and will be a tough challenger once again.
Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I) winner Reliable Man will also take his place in the starting gate on Sunday. The son of Dalakhani has won four of his five career starts, with his only loss coming to Meandre in the Grand Prix de Paris. Like Sarafina, Reliable Man is conditioned by Alain de Royer-Dupre.
In addition to So You Think, trainer Aidan O’Brien will also be represented by Investec Coronation Cup (Eng-I) winner St Nicholas Abbey, and Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT)/Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) winner Treasure Beach. Both colts are reported to be in sharp form and should give a good accounting for themselves in the race.
The field is rounded out by John Gosden’s Masked Marvel, recent winner of the Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes (Eng-I), Silver Pond, winner of the Grand Prix de Chantilly (Fr-II), and the fillies Testosterone and Shareta, who finished second and third, respectively, to Galikova in the Prix Vermeille.
$5,437,800 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I, race 6, 10:15 a.m. EDT), 3yos & up, 12 furlongs, turf.
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey, Trainer
1. Hiruno D’Amour (Jpn), 131, S. Fujita, M. Kon
2. Danedream (Ger), 120, A. Starke, P. Schiergen
3. Testosterone (Ire), 120, S. Pasquier, P. Bary
4. Galikova (Fr), 120, O. Peslier, F. Head
5. Masked Marvel (GB), 123, W. Buick, J. Gosden
6. St Nicholas Abbey (Ire), 131, J.P. O’Brien, A.P. O’Brien
7. Reliable Man (GB), 123, G. Mosse, A. de Royer-Dupre
8. Workforce (GB), 131, R. Moore, M. Stoute
9. Shareta (Ire), 120, T. Jarnet, A. de Royer-Dupre
10. Meandre (Fr), 123, M. Guyon, A. Fabre
11. Snow Fairy (Ire), 128, L. Dettori, E. Dunlop
12. Treasure Beach (GB), 123, C. O’Donoghue, A.P. O’Brien
13. Sarafina (Fr), 128, C.P. Lemaire, A. de Royer-Dupre
14. So You Think (NZ), 131, J.A. Heffernan, A.P. O’Brien
15. Silver Pond (Fr), T. Thulliez, C. Laffon-Parias
16. Nakayama Festa (Jpn), M. Ebina, Y. Ninomiya