The draw at Longchamp will be key for Paul Hanagan as he prepares to partner Classic heroine Taghrooda in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday.
The former champion jockey teams up with John Gosden’s ante-post favourite as she looks to atone for her narrow defeat at the hands of Tapestry in the Yorkshire Oaks.
Winner of the Investec Oaks and King George, Taghrooda was subsequently reported to be coming into season when she was beaten half a length on the Knavesmire. She will have a chance to avenge that defeat as Tapestry has been supplemented for the all-aged middle-distance championship.
The addition of the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly takes the Arc field to 20 ahead of today’s final declaration stage, with 17 and 18 runners having gone to post for the last two renewals. While a big field can produce some hard luck stories, Hanagan believes Taghrooda will rise to the challenge if things get a little tight in the course of the race.
He said: “She won’t shy from anything really, she can hold her own. She’s a big filly, she rides kind of like a colt so that (a big field) wouldn’t worry me. It’s hard to say yet (how the race may pan out) because we don’t definitely know what is going to run yet and we don’t know where we’re going to be drawn. It’s a bit early to be going into tactics.”
Connections of Tapestry forked out 120,000 euros to add the filly to the field despite the fact she put up no kind of show when only ninth in the one-mile Matron Stakes on her last outing. Ryan Moore is set to ride and Hanagan thinks it is worth the Aidan O’Brien team taking a chance. He added: “It was a lot of money (to supplement Tapestry) but I think she’d have to go and have a run there – she’s a very good filly.”
Tapestry was the sole supplementary entry, with Chicquita and Ruler Of The World, the likely mounts of Joseph O’Brien and Frankie Dettori respectively, also representing Ballydoyle. All of the other leading hopes, including Ectot, Avenir Certain and the Japanese trio of Harp Star, Gold Ship and Just A Way, are still in the mix. At Ascot today, James Given will employ a couple of training aids as Odeon bids for Listed success in the Londonmetric Noel Murless Stakes.
The three-year-old has shown some headstrong tendencies this year, sweating up before his races and taking a keen hold on the track.
Given had him lined up for the St Leger at Doncaster but after equipping the colt with a hood to help with the preliminaries and on the way to the start, Odeon was not allowed to run as he had left the paddock with the undeclared headgear still in place. The Lincolnshire trainer has dispensed with the hood this time but will use ear plugs as he tries to keep a grip on the son of Galileo.
He said: “We’ll be using a lip chain and ear plugs rather than a hood. I hope at Ascot on a Friday there won’t be anything like the atmosphere there was at Doncaster and at York. I hope we won’t have the same trouble with him next year as he matures.”