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Sarafina shortens for Arc

By Sue Montgomery

This is a sport that revels in statistics — indeed, its financial lifeblood is generated by analysis and interpretation of facts and figures.

So it would be a brave enough anorak who would stand against the winner of next month's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe being seen at the afternoon of dress rehearsals staged over the big-race course and distance.

In 20 years the Prix Foy, Niel and Vermeille have between them produced 12 heroes or heroines of Europe's most valuable middle-distance contest, plus seven runners-up and seven thirds.

And bookies duly took evasive action over all three of yesterday's winners, respectively Sarafina, Reliable Man and Galikova.

Sarafina was already favourite — now shortened to 7-2 — for the Longchamp showpiece, based on her third place last year after a troubled passage and her defeat of ultra-reliable yardstick Cirrus des Aigles at Saint-Cloud in June.

Her trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre also has Reliable Man, giving him impressive ammunition in his quest for the Arc.

The three-year-old was the most significant market mover yesterday after his dashing two-length success in the Niel cut from 20-1 to as short as 7-1.

The Chantilly trainer said: “The filly didn't have a hard race and found a lot at the finish. The colt came with a good run today and he has the action of a top horse.”

Galikova is now perceived as back-up to Sarafina in the home side's Arc defence. She is as short as 6-1, with only the British raiders Workforce and Nathaniel splitting the French fillies in the betting.

The Prix du Moulin, almost lost among the Arc trials, provided Excelebration with his first success at the top level.

Meanwhile, Manieree could be Longchamp bound after continuing John Oxx's rich vein of form in the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh yesterday.

Oxx said: “She likes soft ground and improved a bit. She might be better if the ground is heavy.

“She is in the Prix de l'Opera and I'll train her for it.”

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