Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Soldier on the march in Paris race

Aidan O’Brien is hoping to be singing in the rain after tomorrow’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in which the chances are that Soldier Of Fortune will make the best of an opportunity afforded by cloudy and damp weather in Paris.

The softer it is, the better Soldier Of Fortune likes it. He was fifth last year but significantly, he has had a much easier season this time, winning the Coronation Cup at Epsom before losing out to Youmzain who was second in the Arc last year and renews rivalry tomorrow.

That last race defeat for the Soldier was in the e Grand Prix de Saint Coloud and since then the O’Brien horse has been kpet “on ice” so to speak, waiting for the Arc.

Of course O’Brien’s leading contender is Duke of Marmalade but although he is declared, he would prefer better going that what is likely to be the case at Longchamp. If that’s so, Johnny Murtagh wil switch to Soldier Of Fortune. That seems to be the current plan at any rate.

As I have said, Soldier of Forutne appears to have been especially trained for the Arc and he must therefore be the sharper propsect in view of the ract that the Duke has ad five Group One wins and that must have taken it out of him.

Papal Bull is an intriguing outsider after almost puttng one over Duke of Marmalade in the King George at Ascot.

Of course, the favourite, Zarkava will be the one to beat in many respects. She gave the rest of the field a start when winnng the Prix Vermeille forfeiting six lengths after leaving the stalls and looked for a shot instance, as if he was reluctant to race.

However, traine Alan Royer de Royer-Dupre believes that it will not happen here and the fact that Zarkava tackles the colts for the first time, is not likely to make much difference.

French Dernby winner Vision D’Etat did his Arc claims no harm with a narrow success in the Pirx de Neil which is often a good pointer to succes in the Arc, but at the end of the day, it looks to me as if O’Brien could hold all the aces - or at least the one that matters.

The trainer had to wait for a tortuous 45 minutes lst year before Dylan Thomas was confirmed the winner after the stewards deliberated for an unusual length of

time .

He will be hoping that it is more straightforward and I wold go along with Soldier Of Forutne as he is fresh, will like the ground and has the required class.

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