ROGER Varian reports Postponed in “peak condition” as he attempts to crown his fantastic season with victory in tomorrow’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.
The multiple Group One winner steps back up in trip to a mile and a half after winning York’s 10-furlong Juddmonte International at the Ebor Festival under Andrewa Atzeni.
Varian made no secret of the fact Postponed’s preparation for his latest assignment at York was far from ideal, having previously been unable to defend his King George crown due to a dirty scope.
“The horse is very well and I feel he’s in very good condition,” said the Newmarket trainer last night. “Fingers crossed he has a safe journey and we’ll be very pleased.”
Varian declared himself satisfied after Postponed was handed stall seven in the draw.
He said: “I’m not sure you want to be in one, two or three and probably not the three widest stalls. Whatever you get, good or bad, there’s nothing you can do about it and you just have to make the best of it, but seven looks all right, I think.
“We’ve had a very good run of it since York. I think it’s fair to say he didn’t have the ideal preparation for the Juddmonte International, but he’s had a very good preparation for Sunday.
“I don’t think you are ever going into a race like the Arc confident, but I’m confident he’s in peak condition and hopefully he has every chance. I don’t know if he’s going to produce a career-best, but if he gets a smooth run round, I think he’ll produce a very good performance.”
Yorkshire hopes rest with Kevin Ryan’s The Grey Gatsby who will be ridden for the first time by James Doyle. Though the horse has not won since landing the Irish Champion Stakes two years ago, the colt did win the 2014 French Derby at Chantilly and the forecast good ground should be an advantage.
The question will be whether The Grey Gatsby still has the class and stamina to take on Postponed and the likes of Dermot Weld’s Harzand, the dual Derby winner.
Leading Irish jockey Jonathan Burke is looking forward to teaming up with Colin Tizzard this season.
The trainer of popular chaser Cue Card and star staying hurdler Thistlecrack, Tizzard is the beneficiary of Colm Murphy’s shock decision to retire, with Yorkshire-born mining tycoon Alan Potts and his wife Ann moving all the horses based with the multiple Grade One-winning trainer from Ireland to Dorset.
Among the new arrivals are Sizing Granite, winner of the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree last year, Bally Longford and Viconte Du Noyer.
As retained rider for the Potts, Burke looks set to be in action on British soil on a more regular basis this winter. He said: “Colin is delighted to have the horses as they’re an exciting bunch and I’m going over on Wednesday to have a look at the yard.
“There are Grade One horses like Sizing Granite, the middle type horses and also a good bunch of young horses.”