With the countdown to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly well underway, news that former favourite La Cressonniere has been pulled from the iconic race will come as a disappointment to many. Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget revealed the the recent winner of the French 1,000 Guineas and Oaks has an injury concern, and as a result would not be participating at Chantilly. Such news now means that Postponed is now the overwhelming favourite for the race, with Roger Varian’s prized asset enjoying a perfect season to date, including wins at the Coronation Cup and the Juddmonte International.
Elsewhere, champion trainers Dermot Weld and Aidan O’Brien are both still mulling over options for Europe’s premier middle-distance race, with the much fancied Harzand set to undergo a run on Tuesday to determine whether the dual derby winner will feature at Chantilly. Looking ahead to Saturday’s big race, bookmakers Coral offer horse racing odds of 8/1 for Harzand to claim victory, ahead of Postponed, Found and Japanese horse Makahiki. Despite failing to finish having been the favourite for the recent Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, Weld is still confident that the three-year- old can mount a strong challenge at the course near Paris. Meanwhile, Fascinating Rock is also a potential runner for Weld, although the Champion Stakes at Ascot looks like a more likely option, a race in which he won last year. Odds of 20/1 with Coral represent the uncertainty over his future leading up to the two races.
As for O’Brien, the Irishman looks set to have three leading contenders for Chantilly, with Gold Cup winner Order of St George, Highland Reel and Found all in with a shout. Found has finished second in her previous five outings, and is 6/1 to go one better on Saturday. Meanwhile, having won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes this year already, Highland Reel is seen as an outsider in the betting odds at present, at 25/1.
There was double disappointment for French fans in the build up to the race, with Rouget revealing that Almanzor would head to Ascot for the Qipco Champion Stakes rather than Chantilly this weekend, a race in which the three-year- old is the 2/1 favourite with Coral.