09/30/2010 2:20PM

Workforce a go for Arc de Triomphe

Edward Whitaker/Racing Post
Workforce, with Ryan Moore up, runs off with the Epsom Derby before his disappointing King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

PARIS – Workforce, the seven-length winner of the Eposm Derby but a great flop in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, passed a final test at Newmarket on Thursday morning and will run after all in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.

Trainer Michael Stoute waited until nearly the last minute before making his decision, which only only after Workforce had completed a successful move over 4 1/2 furlongs on Newmarket’s Long Hill gallop. Still, he will be coming into the Arc off a distant seventh-place finish in the King George, which was run on July 24. No horse has come out of that Ascot race and won the Arc since Lammtarra in 1996.

It was raining in Paris on Thursday morning, but the skies turned sunny in the afternoon. More rain, however, is predicted for Friday night and Saturday, virtually assuring that the ground will be soft on both Saturday as well as on Arc Day, Sunday.

That will not help Workforce’s chances, as he has never run on such going. Behkabad, the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained winner of the Grand Prix de Paris and the Prix Niel on soft ground at Longchamp, remains the Arc’s 3-1 favorite.

Twenty-two horses remain in the Arc at Thursday’s next-to-last entry stage, with Marinous and Lope de Vage to be supplemented, but the field will be limited to 20 runners, meaning that the two Aidan O’Brien-trained rabbits, Bright Horizon and Dixie Music, may lose their places. O’Brien will also enter Fame and Glory, Cape Blanco, and Midas Touch.

A survey of Arc winners in the last 20 years reveals a big advantage to French-trained horses. They have won 13 times during that period, with British horses winning four times and Irish trainees three times. Irish invaders have won two of the last three Arcs, however, with Sea the Stars last year and Dylan Thomas in 2007.

The best British chance this year may lie with Youmzain, the gallant if erratic 7-year-old who has finished second in the last three renewals. Trainer Micahel Channon sounded a positive note about his possibilities on Thursday, saying that he had just put in a superb workout. Youmzain, however, has, like Workforce, not run since July 24, when he was 14 1/4 lengths third in the King George, in which he finished 3 1/4 lengths behind runner-up Cape Blanco, the subsequent winner of the irish Champion Stakes.

France-Galop has put together a sterling card at Longchamp on Sunday, with seven Group 1 races on the schedule. In addition to the Arc at 1 1/2 miles, for which post time will be 10:05 a.m. Easterm time, they include the five-furlong Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp; the one-mile Prix Marcel Boussac for juvenile fillies; the seven-furlong Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for juvenile colts; the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret, in which Goldikova goes after the 11th Group or Grade 1 victory of her career; the 1 1/4-mile Prix de l’Opera for fillies and mares; and the 2 1/2-mile Prix du Cadran.

With the Foret moved to Sunday, Saturday’s card at Longchamp includes just four Group 2 contests, but three of them look highly competitive.

Budai, trained in Germany by Waldemar Hickst, looks like the value play in the 1 1/8-mile, 155-yard, $174,000 Prix Dollar. Fresh from a win at Baden-Baden in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Spreti-Rennen, Budai was previously second to Vision d’Etat in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Prix Gontaut-Biron, both of those efforts coming on soft ground. Shimraan, owned by the Aga Khan, won the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Prix Eugene Adam last time against 3-year-olds, while the soft-ground-loving Poet, trained by Clive Cox in England, recentlly won the 1 5/16-mile, Group 2 Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.

Godolphin has a strong hand in the one-mile, $174,000 Prix Daniel Wildenstein with Emerald Commander. A Breeders’ Cup Mile possible, he has won the one-mile, Group 2 Oettingen-Rennen at Baden-Baden and the 1 1/8-mile Prix Daphnis in two of his last three starts. Dangerous will be last year’s French 1000 Guineas winner, Elusive Wave, as she recently returned to form with a win against males in Deauville one-mile, Group 3 Prix Quincey.

The selection in the 1 9/16-mile, $174,000 Prix de Royallieu for fillies and mares is the Andre Fabre-trained Announce, who has won all three of her starts, the latest coming in the Group 3 Prix Minerve at the Royallieu distance at Deauville. The Elie Lellouche-trained Peinture Rare defends the honor of the older generation. She was the one-length winner last time over High Heeled in the Group 2 Prix de Pomone at the Royallieu distance.