Continuous set to get Arc green light

Leger winner will try to give Aidan O’Brien a third Arc success

Continuous is set to try and join an ultra-exclusive list in Sunday’s €5 million Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Aidan O’Brien indicted the St Leger winner will be supplemented at a cost of €120,000 into Europe’s most valuable race this Wednesday, and bid to become just the eighth Irish-trained horse to win the Arc.

With ground conditions predicted to dry out in Paris this week, Continuous’ versatility in terms of going could emerge as a plus in his attempt to become the first horse to win the Leger and the Arc in the same season.

“It’s all about Continuous, I’d say. Everything looks good with him at the moment, and if it is good up until Wednesday he’ll probably be supplemented by the sound of what the lads (owners) are saying,” O’Brien said on Sunday. “Fast or heavy ground, it doesn’t matter to him – he has form on all ground.”


Local forecasts in France are anticipating ground conditions at Longchamp could dry out to almost good by the weekend.

O’Brien has twice before landed Europe’s most coveted all-aged prize with Dylan Thomas in 2007 and Found who led home a historic Ballydoyle one-two-three in 2016.

The only other horses trained in Ireland to secure Arc glory at the John Oxx pair Sea The Stars (2009) and Sinndar (2000) while Vincent O’Brien won with both Ballymoss (1958) and the dual-hero Alleged (1977-78.)

Levmoss sprang a 52-1 shock in ultra-testing conditions for trainer Seamus McGrath in 1969.

O’Brien will also be represented in a number of Longchamp’s other Group One features during Arc weekend, although Kyprios won’t attempt to defend his Prix Du Cadran title on Saturday. Runner-up in the Irish Leger on his return to action after injury, Kyprios is likely to wait for Ascot’s Long Distance Cup next month.

“Kyprios won’t go, it will be too quick for him, and we’ll give him time and go back to Ascot,” O’Brien said. “Emily Dickinson will go to the Cadran. Unquestionable, who reared up in the stalls here last time, will go for the two-year-old race over seven (Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere) and something might go with him. Opera Singer will go to the fillies’ race (Prix Marcel Boussac). Jackie Oh, who was second to Joseph’s filly (Lumiere Rock) here last time, will go to the Prix de l’Opera,” he said.

After being out of luck in four rides at the Rosehill track in Sydney on Saturday, Ryan Moore got back to the Curragh in time to successfully team up with O’Brien’s maiden winner Gasper De Lemos. The Justify colt made most of the running and could step up to Group One level next.

“He’s probably a Futurity Trophy horse more than a Dewhurst horse. He’ll get further, he’s like all those Justifys, when they go up in distance they grow a leg. He’s a very good mover so I’m surprised he handles the ground,” O’Brien said.

In other news Monday’s black-type feature is the Grade Three Ballymore Kilbegnet Novice Chase at Roscommon where the prolific Hercule Du Seuil will have to concede a substantial amount of weight to the filly Calico. The latter made a successful debut over fences on soft ground at Galway earlier and as a four-year-old filly gets substantial allowances as she pursues valuable black-type.

Racing at Roscommon depends on passing a 7.30am inspection due to forecast overnight rain.

Monday’s other programme is at Down Royal where jockey Ben Coen could enjoy a profitable afternoon. Testing ground should prove no problem to Wave Machine who sports a first-time visor, while Go Sioux Me has a nice piece of form to her credit behind Clever And Cool during the summer.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column