High hopes for injured Workforce to defend Arc

Connections of Workforce remain hopeful he will be able to defend his crown in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe following the injury he sustained at Ascot on Saturday.

Sir Michael Stoute's four-year-old hung violently to his left in the closing stage of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Nathaniel.

It transpired last year's Derby and Arc winner had been struck into behind by the fatally injured Rewilding and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, is keeping his fingers crossed the top-class colt has not suffered any lasting damage.

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"He's not 100 per cent and I spoke to Michael this morning," Grimthorpe told Racing UK. "On the night of the race he was quite sore behind and the following morning he was still not using himself properly.

"This morning he is a shade better and we're going to take it gently with him. He'll be checked out this week and probably early next week. We'll get various things looked at by Michael's vets and hopefully we'll take him forward again.

"I'm very hopeful he'll see a racecourse again - we have to be.

"I hope it's nothing major and I hope it's more muscular than anything. You always hope that, but actually sometimes sinews and tissues take longer to heal than bones.

"We wouldn't want anything serious because obviously that would be threatening to him. But at the moment we're pretty positive and we're hoping to look at Longchamp again."

Many have questioned whether Workforce's hanging up the straight at Ascot is just part of his make-up, but Grimthorpe does not subscribe to this theory.

"Ryan (Moore] said he got a clip behind and usually horses will hang for a reason," he added.

"He's never done it before. Everyone said he did it at York (in the Dante Stakes] but actually he was just a green, backward horse having his second start and the bit came through his mouth.

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"He's run genuinely right-handed before. At Longchamp in the Arc he couldn't have been more genuine and even at Sandown (in the Eclipse] he was in front long enough to dive left if he'd wanted to."

Meanwhile, the Irish Derby is to be run on a Saturday next year for the first time since 1987. The colts' Classic, under the Dubai Duty Free banner, will be run on a late afternoon card on Saturday, 30 June, the middle day of the three-day meeting. The Irish Derby swaps places with the Stobart Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes which moves to Sunday 1 July.

Another late afternoon card in the 2012 fixture list is the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes which takes pride of place at Leopardstown on Saturday 8 September.