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Legendary French trainer Andre Fabre has four leading contenders for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on October 6.
Fabre, successful in the big Paris showpiece on no less than seven occasions, last won the race in 2006 with Rail Link, and although not responsible for any of the favourites, nevertheless has a team that has to be respected.
That includes Prix Niel flop Flintshire, who to be fair, was never going to handle the ground that day, and who is expected to show his true worth if the ground is at least good on Arc day.
Ocovango was ahead of him in the Niel but is one that would prefer cut in the ground, while the Godolphin-owned Penglai Pavilion needs to improve from taking a Listed race at Saint Cloud.
That leaves Intello as perhaps the one that Fabre will pin his hopes on.
“Flintshire will run if it is good, Penglai Pavilion will run too, with Ocovango we are watching the weather as he likes it softer and of course Intello will run. Triple Threat and Sky Hunter will not run,” he said.
“Intello was not impressive at the weekend, but I didn’t want him to be. All I wanted was for him to have a nice, confident race. I don’t like my horses to be impressive in their trials.
“I think all of them deserve to run, but you wouldn’t say any of them are the favourites. The one with the class is Intello.”
Intello’s last prep race was over a mile, but that does not worry Fabre.
“He has not had that unusual a season. He ran in the Guineas and the Prix du Jockey Club and it is usual for horses that run in those races to end up in the Arc,” he said.
“It may be slightly different for a horse to then run in the Marois, but he was beaten by two top-class milers that day, I wasn’t disappointed. That has been done before – horses have gone on from winning the Marois to be placed in the Arc.
“Obviously there is a question mark about his stamina, but class brings stamina. They either stay or they don’t. I’m sure some pedigree experts will tell me he won’t stay but we will find out.”
Orfevre, unlucky to be caught by Solemia 12 months ago, showed his worth in landing the Prix Foy on Arc Trials day, and is the one that sets the standard for Fabre and the rest to aim at.