Gosden seeks a Marvel at Longchamp


A surprise challenger for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was yesterday unmasked by John Gosden – even as he gave up hope on the ground coming right for his long-term contender, Nathaniel. As Paris basks in the Indian summer, the Newmarket trainer will this morning ask the owners of Masked Marvel for a decision on the €100,000 (£90,000) fee required to supplement their St Leger winner to Sunday's field.

The colt is understood to be in excellent fettle since his success at Doncaster and relishes fast ground. The original intention was to prepare him for the Canadian International on 16 October, but a good run at Longchamp would have the virtue of opening up a more convenient interval to the Breeders' Cup. Nathaniel, meanwhile, is now set to be held back in the hope of more congenial conditions for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot a fortnight on Saturday.

That race has also been one of the options available to Snow Fairy, but she seems destined to contest the Arc. Her trainer was doing his best to watch two hockey matches at once yesterday afternoon, with his daughters engaged on adjacent pitches, but his focus no longer seemed quite so divided so far as this other cherished female was concerned. While reserving the right to leave a final decision until this morning, Ed Dunlop could come up with no substantial grounds to arrest the snowballing Arc gamble on his filly.

Snow Fairy twice produced explosive acceleration on firm ground in the Far East last autumn and is expected to adore conditions in Paris. Her performances in Japan and Hong Kong also lend substance to the suspicion that she will relish the all-action environment of a big field and a turning circuit. Dunlop was also receptive to the theory that Snow Fairy might not have been suited by an obligation to track So You Think in what amounted to a match at Leopardstown last time – rather than cut him down late.

"That's a difficult thing to say, when according to the official ratings she has run the best race of her life," Dunlop said. "But I do know what you're saying. The number of runners is not an issue for us, nor is the going, and I'm very pleased with her. It's all very exciting, if we go – and as long as the horse is OK, I think we will.

"Certainly, if she goes to France, it will be to run in the Arc rather than the Prix de l'Opera. She had her last blow this morning and if the owner is happy to run, then she'll get the green light tomorrow. We just have to dot every 'i' and cross every 't' and confirm everything with her owner."

Like Nathaniel, Reliable Man could also be diverted to Ascot if Alain de Royer-Dupré concludes that he should not be risked on the fast ground at Longchamp. The trainer is already represented by the leading French fancy, Sarafina, who will be aimed at the Breeders' Cup Turf assuming she runs well on Sunday.

Jack Mitchell, meanwhile, faces an awkward crossroads in his young career when the British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel convenes today to consider a failed drugs test at Newmarket on 28 May. They will find the jockey in contrite mood, judging from a statement issued yesterday.

"I acknowledge that my actions which led to me testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine were unacceptable as well as foolish," Mitchell said. "I would like to reassure everyone in racing that this was a one-off occurrence and will never happen again."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's nap

Courtesy Call (3.0 Wolverhampton) Given a break and has been gelded since disappointing last time out, but had previously run a good second in a race that worked out well at Epsom.

Next best

Mahfal (5.0 Wolverhampton) Useful middle-distance pedigree and has shaped nicely in maidens since his arrival from France. Steps up in trip for his handicap debut.

One to watch

Neutrafa (John Mackie) is lightly raced and was beaten by only half a length at Musselburgh the other day despite running into traffic problems during a sustained challenge.

Where the money's going

Galikova is 6-1 from 15-2 with Coral for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments