09/29/2016 2:40PM

Postponed to face no more than 15 in Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

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Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Postponed, shown winning the Sheema Classic, will likely travel to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Turf Classic.

Sixteen horses have passed the second-to-last forfeit stage for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France, with the favored Postponed facing no more than 15 rivals when final entries are taken and post positions assigned Friday.

Thursday also was the day for supplemental entries to be declared, but none were, leaving 2016 Japan Derby winner Makahiki, 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Found, and Epsom Derby winner Harzand as the most obvious challengers to Postponed.

With Longchamp, the Arc’s traditional home, undergoing extensive renovation, the richest race in Europe [valued at about $4.7 million this year] will be run at Chantilly, where the 1 1/2-mile distance is slightly less demanding. Course conditions should be suitable for Postponed, with dry weather prevailing this week; the turf was watered Thursday. Barring unforeseen rain, the course is expected to be good.

The 5-year-old Postponed, who is expected to travel to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Turf if all goes well Sunday, got sick early this summer but recovered and won the Juddmonte International at York on Aug. 17 in his most recent start.

While that performance was workmanlike, Postponed scored a brilliant win in the Coronation Cup in June at Epsom and impressively won the Sheema Classic on the Dubai World Cup card. Should he prevail Sunday, it would be a first Arc win for trainer Roger Varian and jockey Andrea Atzeni.

Besides Found, who didn’t run to her best form when ninth in this race last year, trainer Aidan O’Brien still has Highland Reel and Order of St George in the Arc, a race he has won only once, in 2007 with Dylan Thomas.

Trainer Andre Fabre, who has won the Arc seven times, starts New Bay, the Juddmonte colt who has been lightly raced this year after finishing third to Golden Horn in the 2015 Arc. The 3-year-old filly Left Hand, second in the French Oaks, has come in for some late support, in great part because she gets an 11-pound break in the weights from older male rivals such as Postponed.

Strong field in Sun Chariot

Alice Springs will attempt to follow up on a very strong win Sept. 10 in the Group 1 Matron Stakes when she faces eight rivals Saturday in the Group 1 Sun Chariot, a one-mile race for older fillies and mares at Newmarket.

Alice Springs, a 3-year-old filly trained by O’Brien, was a tough-trip second to Catch a Glimpse in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall, and though she was third in the English 1000 Guineas and third in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, she probably ran her best race last out at Leopardstown, where she powered home a 3 1/4-length winner over the progressive filly Persuasive. In third was Quemah, who had beaten Alice Springs in the Coronation Cup, suggesting that Alice Springs has improved in the last several months.

A good showing Saturday could send Alice Springs on to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, a race that also has been mentioned for Volta. Third in the French Oaks, Volta most recently finished second to Quemah in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild, though whether she can be as effective as Alice Springs over the good-to-firm going expected Saturday at Newmarket is uncertain.

◗ The Group 1 Prix du Cadran headlines the five-race, all-group-stakes, pre-Arc card Saturday at Chantilly. Contested over more than 2 1/2 miles, the Prix du Cadran has the high-class stayer Vaziribad as the odds-on favorite in antepost wagering, though the 4-year-old, who won the Group 1 Gold Cup in Dubai this past spring, has yet to race beyond two miles.

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