Murtagh confident of Novellist’s Arc chance

The Real Article to prove real deal at Roscommon

The German star Novellist has slid slightly off the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe radar on the back of recent impressive trial performances by Orfevre and Treve but Johnny Murtagh believes his wide-margin King George winner is still capable of giving him a second victory in Europe's most prestigious all-aged race.

It is 13 years since Murtagh landed the Arc on Sinndar but the Irishman will travel to Longchamp this Sunday eager to bridge that gap.

“I’m told the horse is very well and the trainer is very happy with him. No one’s talking much about him because it’s been so long since the King George but he must have a good chance,” Murtagh said yesterday.

The Andreas Wohler trained star hammered Trading Leather to the tune of five lengths at Ascot two months ago but remained at home for his Arc warm-up when winning a Group One at Baden-Baden at the start of this month in workmanlike fashion.

Leading Light will have to be supplemented into the Arc if he is to form part of Aidan O'Brien's Arc team and there is a connection to the St Leger winner in today's opener at Roscommon where his brother, John Constable, has a second career start.

The first at Gowran earlier this month yielded a fourth to Mandatario in a decent looking race which suggested the Ballydoyle colt should step up significantly next time.

Today’s feature is the Grade Three Kilbegnet Novice Chase and The Real Article can build on his handicap victory at Listowel where he comfortably beat one of today’s opposition, Toostrong.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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

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