Ground concerns lead to Love missing Arc showdown with Enable

Love has been taken out of Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe following the final forfeit stage.

Aidan O’Brien had warned the dual Classic heroine would not be at home on the predicted very soft ground and has taken the decision to withdraw her.

The Galileo filly was the only withdrawal on Thursday morning, with the John Gosden-trained Enable standing tall against 14 rivals.

O’Brien told the PA news agency: “We had to make the decision today because there was no other stage after this.

“If Ryan (Moore) was declared to ride her he then couldn’t ride anything else (if Love was later taken out), so we had to make the decision today.

“It’s 4.1 on the penetrometer at the moment and there is a lot of rain forecast, it could get to 4.5 so we had to make a choice.

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“Sadly I don’t think there’s any prospect of the ground improving much.”

Mogul will be the mount of Ryan Moore in the Arc
Mogul will be the mount of Ryan Moore in the Arc (Dan Abraham/PA)

O’Brien is still represented by Derby hero Serpentine, who was supplemented on Wednesday at a cost of €72,000, Sovereign, Japan and Mogul – winner of the Grand Prix de Paris and who will be ridden by Moore.

The Ballydoyle handler is unsure how his other runners will handle the testing ground.

“We just don’t know how the others will go on it. When the ground gets that soft you just can’t predict,” he said.

“It’s a shame the ground has gone like that, but that is the way it goes, nobody can control it.”

Enable – seeking an unprecedented hat-trick of Arc victories – is one of two contenders for Gosden along with Ascot Gold Cup winner Stradivarius.

Enable will break from stall five
Enable will break from stall five (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Frankie Dettori had been hoping for a draw between one and eight and he will be happy to leave from stall five, having broken from stall six in 2018 and two in 2017.

However, stablemate Stradivarius will have to defy stall 14 – just like Golden Horn did in 2015.

Of O’Brien’s contenders, Mogul drew stall three, Japan (Yutaka Take) is in 11, Serpentine (Christophe Soumillon) 15 and Sovereign (Mikael Barzalona) in 10.

Andre Fabre’s Persian King is in seven, with Jean-Claude Rouget’s Sottsass, who was third last year, in four.

Speaking to Sky Sports Racing later in the morning, O’Brien pointed to the Breeders’ Cup for Love – and confirmed she is set to stay in training as a four-year-old.

“It would be unusual if the ground came up good on Champions Day (at Ascot), it is usually soft or heavy so it would be wrong to carry on with her for another two weeks and then the same thing happen,” he said.

“So we’ll give her a little time now and give her a nice run in the Breeders’ Cup.

“The plan is to have her in training next year, so that’s something to look forward to.”

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