Sarafina posts strong claim to be Arc angel for Royer-Dupré

 

This is a sport that revels in statistics; indeed, its financial lifeblood is generated by analysis and interpretation of facts and figures. So it would be a brave anorak who would stand against the winner of next month's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe being seen at the afternoon of dress rehearsals staged over the big-race course and distance yesterday.

In 20 years the Prix Foy, Niel and Vermeille have between them produced 12 heroes or heroines of Europe's most valuable middle-distance contest, plus seven runners-up and seven thirds. And bookmakers duly took evasive action over all three of yesterday's winners, respectively Sarafina, Reliable Man and Galikova.

Sarafina was already favourite for the Longchamp showpiece based on her third place last year after a troubled passage and her cosy defeat of the ultra-reliable yardstick Cirrus Des Aigles at Saint-Cloud in June. She came to her latest fray after the traditional midsummer holiday normally accorded by French trainers to their Arc candidates and her performance only confirmed what was already known – she is a classy, professional performer.

Her trainer, Alain de Royer-Dupré, and owner, the Aga Khan, together have an excellent recent Arc profile, having combined to win with Zarkava three years ago and Dalakhani in 2003, and Sarafina was shortened across the board – she is now generally a 7-2 shot – after blowing the cobwebs away. She had to survive a stewards' inquiry after her rider, Christophe Lemaire, had thrust her through the narrowest of openings between St Nicholas Abbey and the Japanese raider Hiruno d'Amour inside the final furlong, but she willingly responded and, though her margin at the line was only a short-neck, it was comfortable enough.

The four-year-old's stablemate Reliable Man gives Royer-Dupré impressive ammunition in his quest for another Arc. The three-year-old was the most significant market mover yesterday after his dashing two-length success in the Niel, traditionally the most prolific of the trials, cut from as big as 20-1 to as short as 7-1.

Reliable Man, who began his career only in April, bounced back to his best yesterday as, ridden positively by Gérald Mossé, he comprehensively took revenge on his Grand Prix de Paris conqueror Meandre. The Arc thread runs strongly in the grey; his sire, Dalakhani, as mentioned, won and he carries the colours of Sven Hanson, whose admirable mare Pride, also trained by Royer-Dupré, went under by just a neck five years ago.

The Chantilly trainer was, understandably, happy with a good day's work. "Exactly what we wanted," he said. "The filly didn't have a hard race and found a lot at the finish. She was a little fresh today but will not be in three weeks' time. The colt found the ground too firm for him here in the Grand Prix de Paris and did not come down the hill well, but he came with a good run today and he has the action of a top horse."

The last Niel winner to take the Arc was Rail Link, who beat Pride, and the last from the Foy to follow up was Subotica back in 1992. The Prix Vermeille, a Group One contest in its own right, was the most recent trial to supply the winner of the big one, the peerless Zarkava.

Yesterday's winner Galikova is now perceived as back-up to Sarafina in the home side's Arc defence. She is as short as 6-1, with only the British raiders Workforce and Nathaniel splitting the French fillies in the betting.

The rapidly improving Galileo three-year-old has some hoofprints to follow – she is a half-sister to the mighty miler Goldikova – but she certainly owns her share of the family talent, though in a different department. Yesterday's test was to prove her stamina for a mile and a half, which she did in decisive fashion; the further she went the further she surged clear under Olivier Peslier, with a two-and-a-half-length margin over the progressive, proven stayer Testosterone. "I loved the way she finished," said her trainer, Freddy Head, "she's quite something."

The Prix du Moulin, almost lost among the Arc trials, provided Excelebration with his first success at the top level and established his position as Europe's second-best three-year-old colt over a mile as he quickened smartly to account for Rio De La Plata, Rajsaman and Dubawi Gold, and has a choice of immovable objects next. "He'll either have to face Frankel [at Ascot] or Goldikova [in the Breeders' Cup]," said his trainer, Marco Botti, "but he deserves the chance to try."

Turf account

* Chris McGrath's Nap

Winner's Wish (3.10 Kempton)

Was not given a hard time after a slow start on her debut at Newmarket last month and should have learnt plenty from that considerate debut.



* Next best

Right Result (4.50 Musselburgh)

Is best judged on some progressive placed efforts in maidens rather than his near-last finish in the hurly-burly of a sales race cavalry charge last time.

* One to watch

Burano (Brian Meehan), who took on some smart ones in his maidens, ran a solid second on his nursery debut at Doncaster on Saturday, his first try over a mile, and looks progressive.



* Where the money's going

Sea The Stars' half-brother Born To Sea is as short as 6-1 (with Paddy Power) for the 2,000 Guineas after his impressive winning debut at the Curragh on Saturday.

Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Sport
Torquay United mascot Gilbert the Gull
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker