09/04/2006 11:00PM

Final Arc preps take shape


Andre Fabre is keeping one eye on the skies as he contemplates whether to send Hurricane Run to Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday or keep him in France for Sunday's Prix Foy at Longchamp.

Fabre's decision will determine whether Hurricane Run, the reigning European champion, will prep for a defense of his Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe title in Ireland against Ouija Board or in France against his stablemate Shirocco.

The weather will be the deciding factor, since Fabre said he would like Hurricane Run to go on somewhat rain-softened ground in preparation for the Arc, which will be run Oct. 1. With Shirocco having skipped last Sunday's Grosser Preis von Baden in favor of the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Prix Foy, Fabre had planned to avoid a meeting between his two stable stars and send Hurricane Run in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes. The ground at Leopardstown, however, looks as if it will be good on Saturday, and if that is the case, Hurricane Run will remain at home to contest the Prix Foy at Longchamp, where the ground is more likely to be on the soft side. If the Foy is the choice, Hurricane Run is also likely to run into defending champ Pride, the mare who beat him in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on June 25.

The ground, and Hurricane Run's presence or absence, could also influence the decision of where Aidan O'Brien will run Dylan Thomas. O'Brien said he wants to run Dylan Thomas on good ground, but would like to avoid a confrontation with Hurricane Run before the Arc. If Hurricane Run goes at Leopardstown, Dylan Thomas would probably skip the Irish Champion in favor of Sunday's Prix Niel, Longchamp's 1 1/2-mile Arc prep for 3-year-olds, a race in which Fabre will send his Grand Prix de Paris winner Rail Link.

Bookmakers at William Hill list Hurricane Run as their 11-10 favorite for the Irish Champion Stakes, with Ouija Board at 9-4, Dylan Thomas 3-1, and Alexander Goldrun 4-1.

Meanwhile, Japanese sensation Deep Impact is scheduled to work at Longchamp next week in lieu of an Arc prep. Having settled in at the Chantilly yard of Carlos Laffon-Parias, Deep Impact will go in the Arc off a 14-week layoff. Deep Impact's regular rider, Yutaka Take, who is riding every Sunday in France through Arc weekend, is expected to be in the saddle for the work.