A superb six-timer from Roger Varian’s Postponed sees the five-year-old priced up at 3/1 favourite for October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but Dermot Weld could be forgiven for wondering what his double Derby winner Harzand has done wrong to be next best in the market at 5/1.
Jockey Andrea Atzeni will surely take the ride on Postponed at Chantilly, the Arc’s temporary home while Longchamp is being renovated, after the Italian steered his mount to a 1¼l win in York’s Juddmonte International Stakes, his eighth on the spin aboard the son of Dubawi.
Varian talked up his inmate’s chances in France after the race, stating:
“I don’t see Chantilly presenting any issues…He’s shown how versatile he is on a variety of different tracks and, although I expect it will be a maximum field, I don’t see it as a problem.
“We have to get him there in the best possible shape, then anything but heavy [ground] should be fine.”
Bottomless conditions may be a rarity in the 1m4f showpiece, but heavy ground is certainly possible – 33/1 outsider Solemia trudged her way to victory around the Paris track in 2012, while Workforce did the Derby/Arc double in 2010 on ground judged to be ‘very soft’.
Furthermore, the town of Chantilly attracts markedly more rainfall during October than the French capital, with 71 millimetres on average, compared to just under 55.
The wetter it gets, the better it will be for Weld’s three-year-old, who landed heavy-ground victories in Cork and Leopardstown during Ireland’s stormy spring, with Harzand’s Epsom and Curragh Derby triumphs bagged in good-to-soft and good-to-yielding conditions.
Considering the Sea the Stars colt’s owner the Aga Khan has taken this race four times in the past, and three of the last seven Epsom Derby winners have gone on to double up in the Arc, including John Gosden’s Golden Horn 12 months ago, Harzand deserves top billing.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.