France's main Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hope ruled out


Paris (AFP)

Postponed shortened as ante-post favourite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday after France's main contender, La Cressonniere, was ruled out.

The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained unbeaten filly was rated the main danger to Postponed after wins in the French 1,000 Guineas and Oaks.

But a minor injury requiring medical treatment means she will miss next Sunday's feature, run this year and next at Chantilly as its traditional home Longchamp undergoes a major facelift.

Rouget told French racing website Jour de Galop: "After her canter on Saturday morning we noticed that she seemed to be feeling something behind.

"We have been obliged to put her on anti-inflammatories. Given the clearance period required for the prescription, it is impossible that she will line up next Sunday at Chantilly."

On the positive side, Rouget's stable star will now be given the winter off in preparation for a four-year-old career in 2017.

Rouget also trains French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes winner Almanzor, but he is being targeted not at the Arc but at the British Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Winner of all her eight starts, La Cressonniere was set to play a major part in Europe's top all-aged race.

Once news emerged of her injury bookmakers shortened Postponed, who has headed the betting ever since his International Stakes triumph in August, to around 2-1.

Irish trainer Dermot Weld, who like Rouget has yet to win the Arc, is mulling over whether to run his Epsom and Irish Derby victor Harzand.

"Harzand is well and progressing. He will probably work on Tuesday and we'd like to see some rain at Chantilly," Weld told The Racing Post.

Weld is also debating over whether to pitch in stablemate Fascinating Rock, last year's Champions Stakes winner.

Aidan O'Brien could be three-handed with Found, runner-up to Almanzor in the Irish Champion, Order of St George and Highland Reel.

Success meanwhile in Europe's richest race with five million euros ($5.6 mn) in prize money would cap a perfect season for Postponed who has already won three Group Ones.

"He is in good form and where he needs to be with eight days to go. Fingers crossed that it all goes well between now and next weekend," his trainer Roger Varian reported on Saturday.

Japan's quest to finally win the race after a series of agonising near misses hinge on Makahiki, a top-priced 7-1 third favourite.