Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa won’t be aimed at the Arc

Enable leads the antepost market for Sunday’s race with very soft ground expected

Dermot Weld is weighing up whether to return to Paris with his Vermeille winner Tarnawa on Sunday although it won't be for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Hugely impressive in the Vermeille over the Arc course and distance a fortnight ago, Tarnawa has figured as low as 12-1 in some lists for Europe’s greatest all-aged race.

However Weld has ruled out adding her alongside Enable and Love and instead will examine if the Aga Khan’s filly can take her chance in the Prix de l’Opera over ten furlongs on Sunday’s undercard at Longchamp.

Crucial to any decision will be the state of the going at Longchamp which on Monday was ‘very soft’ with predictions of little change by Sunday.


That outlook has seen a ‘flip-flop’ at the top of the Arc betting with the hat-trick seeking Enable now a general 7-4 favourite over Love who has never run on a surface worse than good to soft.

Tarnawa has winning form on ground with some cut in it but on Monday Weld underlined his preference for good going in France.

“They’re saying it’s very soft and she wouldn’t want it very soft. So we will make a decision on Wednesday whether she will run in the Prix de l’Opera or wait for British Champions Day at Ascot and the Filly & Mare.

“We will see the forfeits on Wednesday and wait and see what the forecast is and what the opposition is. I would have a slight preference for the Prix de l’Opera,” said Weld who added that a tilt at the Arc wasn’t considered for Tarnawa despite her impressive defeat of the top French filly, Raabihah, last time.

The latter was among 22 horses left in the Arc on Monday. They also include a handful of entries left in by Joseph O’Brien including Buckhurst.

In addition to Love, Aidan O’Brien kept Sovereign and the brothers, Japan and Mogul, in the race. The Derby winner Serpentine is expected to supplemented on Wednesday.

Weld’s dual-Irish Leger heroine Search For A Song still figures among the possible contenders for Saturday’s Group 1 Prix du Royallieu at Longchamp but may skip that engagement.

“It’s not definite she will run again this year. She is entered in the Group 1 in France on Saturday. But if she runs again I would say it is more likely in the Long Distance Cup (British Champions Day) that we won before with Forgotten Rules,” Weld said.

One trainer delighted at the prospect of wet ground conditions in Paris is Englishman Clive Cox who will target his Coventry Stakes winner Nando Parrado at the Prix Jean Luc Lagadere.

The colt was runner up in the Prix Morny and had been looking at the Dewhurst next. However Cox reported on Monday: “The prospect of easy ground has lured us that way (France) and I’m very much looking forward to it because he’s in excellent form.

“The extra furlong will be really interesting and I’m convinced it will be well up his street. We think an awful lot of him. He’s got a lot of class.”

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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