Derby hero Serpentine added to Aidan O’Brien’s Arc team as sixteen stand ground


 Serpentine has been added to the Arc field at a cost of 72,000 euros (Focusonracing)
Serpentine has been added to the Arc field at a cost of 72,000 euros (Focusonracing)

Serpentine is the only supplementary entry for Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as 16 remain in Europe’s premier middle-distance race at ParisLongchamp.

Aidan O’Brien added the Investec Derby victor to his team at a cost of 72,000 euros after being pleased with his first run since his runaway triumph at Epsom.

Serpentine blew away the cobwebs on his first public outing for 71 days when fourth to stablemate Mogul in the Grand Prix de Paris over the Arc course and distance two and a half weeks ago.

Mogul, Japan, Sovereign and dual Classic-winner Love complete the Ballydoyle trainer’s raiding party.

Andre Fabre is the leading Arc trainer with eight victories and he looks to a ninth with Persian King, who will be stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time.

Watch analysis of Serpentine’s runaway Derby triumph

He won the Prix du Moulin from Pinatubo over a mile on his latest start and it has been announced Persian King will stand at the Haras D’Etreham Stud next year.

Other leading fancies heading to Paris include John Gosden’s pair of dual Arc heroine Enable and champion stayer Stradivarius plus local hopes Sottsass, In Swoop and Raabihah.

A further 0.9 millimetres of rain fell at the track in the last 24 hours, making a total of 14.4mm so far this week, with the going reported to be very soft and an unsettled forecast ahead of the weekend.

Owner Peter Brant will look to Sottsass to realise his dream of winning the Arc.

Triptych finished third in two Arcs for Brant back in the 1980s and it falls to the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Sottsass to carry his hopes again this year.

The four-year-old came close to victory when third last year, and American industrialist Brant – who is steeped in racing history as both an owner and breeder – remains just as eager as ever for glory in the 12-furlong Group One showpiece.

He told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “I can only say of any race in the world, I would most like to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, mostly because it’s kind of the European championship in many ways.

“It’s the classic distance of a mile and a half and it really involves three or four years of horses, which means that you’re really going through light years to heavy years on talent and it’s a much difficult kind of race to win.”

Sottsass arguably had more obvious claims last term, having won the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Niel on his way to the big day, while this term he has won just one of his four outings, taking the Prix Ganay at Chantilly in June.

The Siyouni colt was last seen finishing two lengths behind Magical when fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes, but Brant – who has owned and bred Kentucky Derby winners and has engaged again with the sport in recent years – believes Rouget will have his runner primed for what has been the ultimate target.

He said: “I think he’s a really superior horse, no doubt. He won the French Derby impressively and won his race before that very impressively.

“He’s won on all different kinds of grounds – soft and firm. I think he broke the track record for the French Derby and he won impressively beating Persian King, who’s proven himself to be a very good horse.

“It’s a very good field and I think he’s an excellent horse. I think Jean-Claude Rouget has really pointed the horse to this race and as he does many times, he picks a spot that he’s going to run to.

“He’s a very sound horse, I don’t think he’s been overtrained or undertrained and I think he goes to the race well.”

It was very soft when Sottsass was beaten by both Waldgeist and the reopposing Enable last year year, and Brant feels the ground offers an unknown factor.

He added: “This kind of ground, you never know who’s going to like it or not – it depends how much it rains. It could be good to soft which would be fine, or it could be really soft.

“Last year the grass was a bit new and it wasn’t a really good course to run on. I think Enable suffered running on that course, but there were great horses in the race and it was a great race.”





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