Ryan Moore took a step forward earlier this week in his battle to regain full fitness ahead of the Arc in 10 days time when he partnered Workforce in a gallop. They were joined at Sandown racecourse by stablemates Confront and Dux Scholar for a nine furlong test.
Moore said that this was the biggest test of his arm so far in his recovery from a broken arm and thumb sustained in a fall at Goodwood at the end of July. After the workout he acknowledged that his arm was still not 100%, but having been passed fit by the doctors, he was sure he would soon be back in racing action.
"Many people helped me along the way," he said. "It's been hard work some days but it's going well and I have to keep working to get back. Physically, Iâ€™m in very good shape. It's the movement that is not hundred percent, but it's getting there. Iâ€™ve done lots of cycling, rowing, cross-training, Pilates and Iâ€™m on to endurance now. It's not the final stage and I'll keep working at it for the next five or six weeks. I have been on the Equiciser at home good bit too. Getting back for the Arc was always the goal."
Although Moore has yet to finalise a date for his return to the saddle, it's clear that he will have few rides before the big race at Longchamp on Sunday week. "I'll probably have a couple of rides before but I'm not sure when. It's probably the wrong thing to ride lots. Rest is important to these things."
Workforce ss following exactly the same pattern of preparation as he did last year before winning the Arc. He hasn't raced since finishing second to Nathaniel in the King George at Ascot, a race in which he had been well beaten last year. Trainer Michael Stoute felt then that he had been training the horse too hard, and so he has been deliberately kept to a light campaign this year. "I felt we should do the same as we did last year," Stoute said. "You wouldn't want to be giving him a hard race in a trial â€“ he's better off coming here."
As it turned out at Tuesday's gallop, Workforce was given a good test by his two stable companions, although both Moore and Stoute were happy with his performance. He quickly shook off Confront, who was the lead horse, but was kept busy before he was able to dispatch Dux Scholar. Moore took Workforce into the lead with three furlongs of the gallop remaining, and had to keep pushing him out all the way to stay in front.
Stoute was more than happy with how things are gone. "With Dux Scholar there, hopefully it will bring him on a little bit more. It was a good strong piece of work on lovely ground. Dux kept him busy, kept him honest and is a little fitter than him, so it was a good test."
The workout had little impact on the market for the Arc. Many bookmakers kept his price unchanged at 5/1, although Paddy Power, who were offering 7/1 have Now trimmed their price by a point.
Asked whether Workforce would again go to America for the Breedersâ€™ Cup Turf, Teddy Graham Thorpe, racing manager to work forces owner Khalid Abdullah, said, "I don't think we need to be deciding. He went last year and we'll have to see how it goes in the Arc. That is his grand target and we will have a look at the situation after that."
The Breedersâ€™ Cup race is perhaps a more likely target for another Stoute trained horse, Sea Moon, who has not been out since his third-place in the St Leger. Grimthorpe said, â€œHe's come out of the Leger fine and we'll see how it goes at home before deciding if he runs again this year or not. He stays in training next year. I wouldn't rule out the Breedersâ€™ Cup. He has only one option there, in the Turf."