Can Workforce Land Back-to-Back Arcs?
September 13, 2011 Leave a comment
Sir Michael Stoute who saddled his first ever winner of Europe’s richest race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, last season with his Epsom Derby winner, Workforce, is intent on claiming a back-to-back victory with the same horse again this year. Should he do so, then the horse will be joining an elite group of six horses that have already achieved the feat, the last one being Alleged in 1977 and 1978. However, can Workforce realistically win?
The first consideration to take into account when it comes to finding the ‘Arc’ winner is to hoist aboard the fact that three year olds receive a handy 8lb weight allowance on older horses which arguably accounts for the reason why three year olds have won fifteen of the last twenty renewals. Workforce this time around will be conceding weight to the likes of Nathaniel, who comfortably holds him on the form shown in the Group One King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes back in July. Andre Fabre, already a seven time winner of this most prestigious of races will run Meandre also a three year old, who won the Group One Prix de Grand Paris at Longchamp in July in great style, where he had Irish Derby winner, Treasure Beach well beaten back in third.
In Workforce’s favour however, is the fact that there are not that many three year old’s entered this year and those who, other than the two mentioned above can be regarded as absolute lop class.
Current favourite in the arc de triomph odds Sarafina, third in the race in 2010 where many believed she would have won had it not been for the bumping she had to endure. She has looked supreme on her two runs as a four year old, but having not been on a racecourse since June, there has to be some doubt and besides, colts like Workforce usually beat good filly’s like Sarafina. However, she did look good when landing the Prix Foy at weekend but the fact that Zarkarva is only the second filly in 25 years to win the race back in 2008 doesn’t bode well for the hopes of the current favourite.
Apart from Nathaniel, Stoute will be concerned about the Aidan O’Brien entry, So You Think, who at this stage is still not yet been committed to running. However, So You Think beat Workforce over ten furlongs in the Group One Eclipse Stakes in July at Sandown Park and looked very impressive in the process. Whilst there are question marks about him getting the trip, it should be remembered that he finished in third place in the 2010 Melbourne Cup and that was over two miles which makes the 12 furlongs at Longchamp look easy.
There is no doubt that it was on the Ballydoyle agenda for So You Think to have a tilt at the ‘Arc’ however, although winning the Eclipse and the Irish Champion Stakes last weekend, there are clearly some doubts about him. It is these doubts that inspire Stoute to believe that he may just have the winner of the race with Workforce, whose best form is always shown over 12 furlongs. The defeat by Nathaniel can be put down to a rare meandering by Workforce in the final furlong in a race that was not helped by having no pace. Stoute knows his horse ran far below his best on that day and although he will be conceding a few pounds to Nathaniel he clearly believes he reverse the ‘King George’ form with him.
The ‘Arc’ was a hard to race to win last year and it will be even harder for Workforce this time. However, It would appear that stable confidence is high enough to believe that he has the measure of both Sarafina and So You Think over the 1m 4f trip and as a result, he should be fully expected to make his presence felt and looks the pick of the older horses but it remains whether the younger runners can take advantage of their weight allowance to add to the dominance of three year olds in the race.