Workforce’s Arc dream on ice
His name could hardly be more proletarian, but he is trained by a knight and owned by a prince whose racing affairs are managed by a baron. And some have been eager to discover a corresponding remoteness in their supervision of Workforce -- to the point that the whole thing is in danger of becoming a little tiresome.
The Derby winner did a piece of work at Sandown yesterday that apparently satisfied his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, and his jockey, Ryan Moore. Afterwards Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdullah was still cautioning that Workforce only had the ‘amber’ light for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, rather than the green. Coral responded by easing him out to 6-1 from 5-1; Ladbrokes and Totesport promptly cut him from 6-1 to 5-1.
The whole situation seems infected with an unnecessary alarmism. Punters, as always, need to make more allowance for the fact that preparing any thoroughbred for a race can be fraught with myriad, unpredictable difficulties. Races are routinely won by horses that spent the previous night with a foot wedged in a bucket of ice, the betting public knowing nothing of it before or since.
Stoute, of course, has an archaic relish for ensuring that press and public mind their own business.
For the record, anyhow, Workforce worked around a mile at Sandown with two stablemates. Official Style, a recent maiden winner at Windsor, set the pace to two furlongs out, after which Workforce went about five lengths clear of a useful older horse, Confront.
“He went nicely,” Grimthorpe said. “It was a good piece of work. There's still no decision on the Arc. We'll see how he checks out, see how he comes out of the work and move slowly onwards. Michael seemed happy with him. Ryan was pleased as well. That doesn't mean he's a definite runner.”
It seems as though Workforce is groping his way back to the racecourse. Even if he fails to convince Stoute that he is ready for the Arc, he could conceivably persevere towards the Champion Stakes or the Breeders' Cup.
Stoute could see Richard Hannon steal a decisive march in the trainers' championship should Canford Cliffs win the QEII Stakes which will be run at Ascot on Saturday and is also a bystander in the two big juvenile races on the card.
Abdullah, however, will be represented by perhaps the most exciting young colt in Newmarket when Frankel contests the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, a race he sponsors.