Click above to watch Workforce winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr1)
(Photo : Guardian - Footage : Vision Direct)
QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (GR1)
Only a handful of horses have won the Epsom Derby by as much as Workforce’s seven-length margin and none had covered the mile-and-a-half distance faster, but such brilliant displays have proved to be false dawns in the past and he needed to reproduce that level of form to enter into champion territory.
Workforce (King’s Best) had hung back and looked uncomfortable previously when runner-up in the Dante Stakes (Gr1) at York on 13 May and when he dropped out in Ascot’s home straight to finish nearly 17 lengths behind Harbinger (Dansili) in the King George the vibes were becoming increasingly negative.
With that in mind, the Sir Michael Stoute stable went down to brass tacks and his recent racecourse spin at Sandown - which was not received with glowing reports from those present - was the only public sighting of the Classic hero subsequently. For those who kept the faith in the time-honored Stoute magic, they were rewarded with a starting price that looked impossible in the immediate aftermath of the Derby.
Kept tight to the rail by Ryan Moore early, he had only a handful of rivals behind at the top of the “false straight,” but had gone the shortest way round and that proved a crucial factor as he started his challenge before the quarter pole. Lope de Vega, who had headed the field at the top of the stretch, was tiring when getting the worse of the interference which caused the lengthy enquiry - and which was eventually judged to have been caused by the subsequently - disqualified seventh Planteur (Danehill Dancer) - as Workforce surged alongside him. With Nakayama Festa and Masayoshi Ebina of El Condor Pasa fame now in front, Workforce had to grind and in a few yards he had put his head in front before answering every call from his rider in a pulsating finale.
“He was back to his best today,” winning jockey Ryan Moore said. “We got a nice run through and when it all got a bit tight at the top of the false straight, there was half a gap there and he was very brave and really quickened into it well. The Japanese horse kept at him, but he kept doing enough and has a great attitude. Ascot wasn’t him - this was only the fifth race of his life and he’s won a Derby and an Arc.” His conditioner added, “Ryan blames himself for Ascot and felt he should have switched him off more, but I think I may have trained him too hard for the race. I said that to Prince Khalid afterwards and I think I was proved right on that, so we took a different path this time. I don’t know if I’m likely to train him next year, but I’d love to.”
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News