There are many doubters as to whether Workforce can successfully defend his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe title this year, but the last 24 hours have provided two big boosts to his chances.
Not only is there the feeling that Workforce is not as good as when triumphing at Longchamp last year, but some of the leading trends are also against his chances.
Only two of the last 12 winners of the Arc have been four-year-olds, while the killer statistic is that all of the victors in this time arrived at Longchamp having landed a Group One in the same season.
Workforce has had to be the bridesmaid in both of his Group One starts, firstly chasing home So You Think over an inadequate 1m2f in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and then failing to catch Nathaniel in a muddled King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
However, Workforce has been nicely rested since the latter of these races in July by trainer Sir Michael Stoute to ensure that he is fresh upon arriving in France.
This break has meant that Workforce is not currently in tip-top shape, but he did please connections in a gallop at Sandown.
Sir Michael said: “It was a good piece of work and with Dux Scholar there hopefully it will bring him on a little bit more. It was a good, strong piece of work on lovely ground. He’s moving well and seems on good shape.
“Dux kept him busy, kept him honest and is a little fitter than him so it was a good test.”
The other boost is that regular jockey Ryan Moore is winning his race to be fit for Longchamp.
Moore broke his right thumb and fractured the top of his humerus in a fall at Goodwood in July, but has been recovering well since.
He partnered Workforce for the gallop and should be ready to return to racing action by the end of September, ample time ahead of the Arc, which is on October 2nd.
No horse has won back-to-back Arcs since Alleged in 1978, but Workforce is 6/1 in the horse racing odds to do just this, with last year’s third Sarafina the current 3/1 favourite.