Very soft ground is going to be a big unknown for many horses on Arc day at Longchamp, but Ryan Moore is relatively happy with his six rides, including Mogul in the feature...
"...she is improving and her soft ground form gives you plenty of hope she will handle conditions."
- Ryan Moore on Keep Busy
*UPDATE: Five of Ryan's mounts are now non-runners because of Aidan O'Brien's decision to withdraw all of his horses from the Arc meeting. Below are his thoughts on his one remaining runner, plus his original views on the Arc and his other intended rides.
Not out of it with soft ground form to her name
She had a fair bit to find going into the race at the Curragh last time, but she ran a great race to be beaten just ½ length by Glass Slippers in the that Group 1 Flying Five. Obviously, this is an even harder test for her - though one made a lot easier after Battaash was taken out on Friday morning - but she is improving and her soft ground form gives you plenty of hope she will handle conditions. She isn't out of this by any means. Her draw in six is okay.
Enable is obviously the form horse and the one to beat
15:05 - Mogul NON-RUNNER
I wouldn't say this race is now Enable's to lose after Love was taken out on Thursday, because I don't think any horse is likely to be in their element with the ground this heavy, but of course she is the one to beat. Her form this season seems to be just about on a par to previous years, and everyone else has to step up to her level. Providing she runs her race in the conditions, that is.
And it is going to be bad out there.
Stradivarius is probably the closest to her in terms of form and class, and he was at his best when winning the Gold Cup in very bad ground at Royal Ascot in the summer. He has to enter calculations after a decent trial behind Anthony Van Dyck in the Foy, but his 1m4f performances obviously give him a fair bit to find with a top-form Enable.
Sottsass and Japan have similar chances on their placed efforts in this race last year, on what was deep ground. Sottsass shaped pretty well in the Irish Champion last time, more so than Japan, and I think both of those are best at 1m4f, so they have their each-way chances here, for all they would prefer better ground.
Serpentine is likely to go forward I imagine, so I don't think his draw in 15 is necessarily that a big negative, but my mount Mogul looks to be well enough berthed in three.
Whether or not he will enjoy ground this bad is again very debatable - that will be a recurring theme of the weekend - but we can't change that, and I know Aidan is very happy with him. He has taken a while to reach the level we thought he was capable of at the start of the season but he was very impressive when beating In Swoop in the Grand Prix de Paris last time. He will need to run right up to that form in this ground if he is to trouble the form horses, and probably improve on it to win, but he is going the right way now.
13:15 - St Mark's Basilica (NON-RUNNER)
I got on him for the first time in the National Stakes, and I was impressed with him as he finished third to Thunder Moon. That was a big step up from his soft-ground maiden win at the Curragh and I expect him to improve again for it. He obviously has a very decent chance in a race which has cut up to just six runners.
13:50 - Mother Earth (NON-RUNNER)
She has plenty of experience, which will come in handy in this ground, but she does need to step up to win this, as Pretty Gorgeous and Fev Rover set the form standard. But we know she handles soft going really well, winning her Group 3 on it and when finishing third to the subsequent Moyglare 1-2 in the Debutante Stakes, so she has her conditions at least. She does need to put her modest run in the Moyglare last time behind her though.
15:50 - Fancy Blue (NON RUNNER)
She won on soft ground at two but, again, whether she wants this type of testing surface is to be seen, and her draw in 12 could have been better. But form-wise she is right up there after Group 1 wins in the French Oaks and Nassau and there was no disgrace in finishing third to good horses over a mile in the Matron last time.
I think this step back up to 1m2f will suit her, but she will need to be at her best as this is a very good renewal, with the likes of impressive Vermeille winner Tarnawa in here, alongside Marois heavy ground runner-up Alpine Star and the unbeaten Tawkeel. This could take a fair bit of winning.
16:55 - Lope Y Fernandez (NON-RUNNER)
This looks a very good renewal of the race but Lope Y Fernandez could just be suited to the test. He was a little disappointing on the face it at Haydock last time but he didn't have a smooth preparation going into the race, so I thought he ran okay in the circumstances.
His earlier Group 1 efforts behind Pinatubo and Space Blues at Deauville - not ideally positioned on either occasion - give him decent form claims, and I always thought he would handle soft. Maybe not as soft as this, but we will see. I think he has a Group 1 win in him, and 7f around here promises to suit him, though he could have been better drawn.