Dermot Weld’s dual Derby winner Harzand booked his ticket for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on Sunday with an impressive gallop on Tuesday morning.
Unfortunately for Weld and Frankie Dettori, though, stablemate Fascinating Rock finds the race coming too soon and will instead be kept back in an attempt to win a second Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Harzand’s participation had been placed in some doubt when he was struck into during the Irish Champion Stakes three weeks ago, just his second defeat in six races.
But just as he had shown after the Investec Derby, his powers of recuperation are exemplary and Harzand heads to France reportedly at the top of his game.
All big-race jockey Pat Smullen is hoping for, however, is a favourable draw after the Weld-trained Famous Name was narrowly denied in the French Derby from stall 17 at Chantilly in 2008.
“Harzand’s in tremendous form, I’m really happy with him,” Smullen told At The Races.
“I rode him (Tuesday morning) and he felt well, it’s all systems go.
“It looks like the ground is going to be on the quick side but you never know, they might get a drop of rain between now and raceday.
“The draw did for Famous Name in the Jockey Club so hopefully we’ll get somewhere in the middle.
“Hopefully it’s not an over-big field, you don’t want to be out on the wing.”
Dettori is once again searching for a mount, and his agent Ray Cochrane accepts time is running out.
He said: “It’s unlikely we’ll be able to find one now, but we’re ever hopeful.
“There aren’t many British runners anyway and the French trainers tend to stick with their own jockeys.”
Postponed is the ante-post favourite for Roger Varian and arrives unbeaten in four starts this year, having most recently been successful in the Juddmonte International at York.
Japan’s quest to win a first Arc continues, this time with Makahiki, who went through his final paces on the gallops on Tuesday morning under Christophe Lemaire.
Aidan O’Brien has left in Found, Order Of St George and Highland Reel, with The Grey Gatsby the only other possible from Britain and Ireland – though there is a supplementary stage for the Arc on Thursday.
New Bay, Silverwave and Left Hand are others to note.