- There's some uncertainty over a couple of the riding assignments for the Arc. Christophe Soumillon, the regular rider for Shirocco, is contracted to the Aga Khan family, and the filly Mandesha, who runs in the colours of the Princess Zahra Aga Khan, entered the Arc picture after winning the Prix Vermeille. According to the UK's Guardian, Frankie Dettori is a possibility for Sixties Icon, though he's also been "linked with Shirocco." (Sounds like Belinda Stronach and Tie Domi.)
One assignment that is set, of course, is Yutaka Take on Deep Impact, and please be sure to check out Walter's latest update on the Japanese star. This is an interesting article in the Guardian about Take, who, it says, is still villified in Britain for an "ill-judged" ride in the 1994 Arc. He is said to have moved too late, and his big rally fell two lengths short (he finished sixth).
The form-book comment "nearest finish" in a major race is a cardinal sin in a punter's eyes, like an uphill putt to win the Open that stops two feet short.Still, he's being offered in the UK at around 5-2 / 11-4 depending on what account you read, so it would seem that there's been at least some forgiveness.
Never mind that he has won more than 50 Group Ones worldwide, including the July Cup at Newmarket on Agnes World. Many backers in this country simply will not have Take at any price, or on any horse. This weekend, he has his latest - and probably last - chance to confound the critics or, just as easily, push the Sneerometer off the scale.
Deep Impact, below, the best horse ever to emerge from Japan, likes to come from well off the pace. Longchamp, as Take knows all too well, is a track that few riders ever really master. The potential for another "nearest finish" is all too obvious. [Guardian]
Andre Fabre, the trainer of the other two horses vying for favoritism, Hurricane Run and Shirocco (he's also starting Rail Link, a three-year old), is concerned about a lack of pace. (Fabre is quoted at 7-4 to have the Arc winner.)
"I have nothing for that role (of pacemaker). Short of getting out there and running myself, there's nothing I can do about it....All three of our horses are good, brave fighters who like to challenge from out of the pack.
"But I can't see where the pace is going to come from - it is a big worry for me." [Yahoo Sports UK]