Updated on 09/17/2011 5:30PM

Preps do little to clear up Arc


The Arc is in the dark.

At Longchamp on Sunday, three inconclusive trials for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe further muddled an Arc picture that was thrown into confusion by Doyen's dull effort in Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes.

Sweet Stream, an Italian-bred filly owned by Team Valor, won the Group 1 Prix Vermeille for 3- and 4-year-old fillies but is not nominated to the Arc, and is due to arrive in America before too long.

Valixir finished just a nose in front of Prospect Park in the Group 2 Prix Niel for 3-year-olds, in which Bago was third and French Derby winner Blue Canari sixth.

And Policy Maker took a slowly run Group 2 Prix Foy for older horses, in which Polish Summer trailed home last of four.

Trainer John Hammond seemed to be as surprised as everyone else after the 30-1 Sweet Stream held on by a half-length to defeat Royal Fantasy in the Vermeille. Just 1 3/4 lengths covered the first eight home, with two-time Group 3 winner Silverskaya sixth and favored French Oaks champ Latice eighth. A 4-year-old daughter of Shantou, Sweet Stream had finished third last time in the Group 2 Prix Minerve, a race won by Lune d'Or, who finished 10th in the Vermeille. The going may have influenced the result, although the winning time of 2:29.50 was rather fast for 1 1/2 miles on soft ground.

Hammond ruled out the Arc for Sweet Stream, saying he would look abroad for her next race.

Valixir, a Trempolino colt trained by Andre Fabre, had won the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam at 1 1/4 miles last time after having finished third behind Blue Canari and Prospect Park in the French Derby. Eric Legrix had Valixir, a 7-2 shot, fully extended to nip Prospect Park in the Niel this time, stopping the clock at 2:29.40. The first two will run in the Arc on Oct. 3, but Bago, who was a length behind in third, will not. Alan Cooper, racing manager for Bago's owner, the Niarchos family, said there are no plans right now for Bago, although the Breeders' Cup Classic has been his ultimate goal all season.

The 4-5 Policy Maker led throughout the Prix Foy, setting a slow pace and quickening through the last quarter to defeat Short Pause by two lengths. A son of Sadler's Wells trained by Elie Lellouche, Policy Maker was timed in 2:38.70 for the 1 1/2 miles. Afterward, his rider, Olivier Peslier, said he would remain aboard Niel runner-up Prospect Park for the Arc.

Doyen, seventh Saturday as the 4-5 favorite for Godolphin in the Irish Champion Stakes, is unlikely to run again this year, said Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager. Meanwhile, Epsom Derby winner North Light will go directly to the Arc off his Irish Derby second on June 27. And Mubtaker, the Arc's second choice prior to his dull seventh in last Sunday's Grosser Preis von Baden, is likely to go in the Arc. All of which has propelled Sulamani into Arc favoritism.

William Hill's Arc odds: Sulamani, 10-3; Grey Swallow, 7-1; North Light, 8-1; Prospect Park, Valixir, 10-1; Mubtaker, 12-1; Blue Canari, 12-1; Powerscourt and Warrsan, 14-1; Cherry Mix, Gamut, Shirocco, and Vallee Enchantee, 16-1.