Moore edges closer to return in time for defence of his Arc title

NO horse has successfully defended the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe since the Lester Piggott-inspired Alleged 33 years ago, but the injured Ryan Moore hopes to be sufficiently fit for Workforce’s historic bid in 10 days time.

Even though Moore is still recovering from breaking his thumb and humerus at Glorious Goodwood, and only intends to have “a couple of rides” before the Arc, he is confident that Sir Michael Stoute’s ‘forgotten’ horse can pull off a memorable double in European racing’s richest contest.

He was speaking after partnering last year’s Epsom Derby hero in a racecourse gallop at Sandown – the first time that Moore and Workforce, the beaten King George favourite, have been seen in public since April.

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The 28-year-old was pleased with the horse’s scope as Stoute attributed Workforce’s Ascot defeat to a leg being struck as Frankie Dettori’s ill-fated Rewilding came to grief at the two furlong poll.

Nathaniel, the King George winner, remains Britain’s most likely Arc winner on October 2 – he is held in higher regard by trainer John Gosden than Masked Marvel who won the St Leger earlier this month.

But Moore is relishing the challenge after initially fearing that he would not return to the saddle this year.

“Physically I’m in very good shape. The movement’s not 100 per cent yet but it’s getting there,” he said.

“It’s going very well. Many people have helped along the way and it’s been quite hard going.

“I will probably have a couple of rides before (the Arc), but I’m not sure exactly. Rest is important and I don’t want to be riding too much before.”

On the gallop, Confront set off at a good pace from the nine-furlong pole with Moore in second until he moved to the front with a couple of furlongs remaining.

The former champion jockey pushed his mount out with hands and heels to finish about two lengths ahead of the Group Three-placed Dux Scholar, who looked in particularly rude health.

“That was a nice, strong piece of work on lovely ground. I’m satisfied with that,” said Stoute. “Dux Scholar kept him honest and he’s a little bit fitter than Workforce at home.”

Asked if his charge was in about the same shape as last year, the trainer replied: “I hope so – there’s not long left. He was stiff behind for a few weeks (after the King George) but he’s moving well and seems in good shape. We didn’t want him to have a hard race in a trial, so we chose a racecourse gallop instead of a race. He hasn’t got too much to do, there are only 12 days to go.”

Regarding Moore’s potential return, Stoute said: “We haven’t got him back yet, but we’ve missed him.”

n Paul Midgley branded Internationaldebut as the best horse he has trained after the in-form sprinter won again at Beverley.

The six-year-old gelding touched base in East Yorkshire for the Violet And Eddie Smith Memorial Conditions Stakes in pursuit of a third consecutive triumph and put in another inspired display under Frederick Tylicki.

The remainder of the card was bossed by Silvestre de Sousa.

De Sousa’s record on the Westwood is truly exceptional, with a 114-1 three-timer taking his seasonal tally to 20 winners.

The Brazilian firstly teamed up with regular ally Mark Johnston to take the Season Finale Selling Stakes with Cat O’ Nine Tails and followed it up with winners on Shotley Mac and Asphan Sam.

n Yorkshire Racing Club hosts a National Hunt Preview on October 4 at Pudsey Liberal Club, (7.45pm). Panellists include form experts Matt Taylor and John Morris.