Lemaire left wanting more from Satono Diamond after final workout
Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee much happier but praying for a dry Arc
Christophe Lemaire was unable to hide his concern after Satono Diamond came through a crucial workout in Chantilly for Sunday's Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe without totally convincing his big-race rider.
While trainer Yasutoshi Ikee was more positive, Lemaire confessed he had hoped to see more punch from the Japanese hope at the end of his seven-furlong gallop on a mist-shrouded Piste des Aigles on Wednesday morning.
"He's in much better shape than when I rode him on his comeback in the Prix Foy," said Lemaire. "He's breathing well and following the pace set but I won't hide the fact that he left me wanting a bit more in terms of the way he finished off his gallop.
"The track today was a bit softer than when I was here three weeks ago and he just finds it hard to really accelerate in these conditions. I think you could see that just now.
"He's a horse I know very well and I have ridden him a lot in races and in the mornings. When he accelerates as he really can he gives me a feeling different to the one this morning."
Considered one of the chief rivals to Enable ahead of his European debut in the Foy, Satono Diamond failed to sparkle and was pushed out to 20-1 by bookmakers after finishing fourth behind Dschingis Secret.
Despite the worries about whether he will handle any further rainfall, Lemaire won't be changing anything in his approach tactically and will be hoping that Satono Diamond can finish well from off the pace.
"One thing is for sure; we are here with one of the best horses in Japan and we are here to win," said Lemaire. "Even if we have a few things stacked against us, I have a lot of confidence in this horse and I know what he is capable of.
"I will be riding him the same way I always do, in mid-pack, with the aim of using his prolonged finishing kick. I hope they go a good pace because that will bring Satono Diamond's stamina into play."
Ikee is far too experienced as an international campaigner to have felt too downhearted by Satono Diamond's run in the Foy and had long targeted Wednesday's gallop as the major piece of work between trials day and the Arc.
The 48-year-old trainer took a more positive view of the Deep Impact colt's performance against his galloping companion Satono Noblesse.
"He pulled a length clear of him right at the end of the gallop and he's in much better shape than for the Foy," said Ikee.
"The main problem that we discovered after his prep run was that he hadn't found it easy to breathe during the race. It has never been a problem before but this morning I put a cross noseband on him and he seemed much more at ease.
"I don't think that will be nearly so much of a problem [on Sunday] on the basis of how he worked."
Ikee was, however, in total agreement with his jockey when it comes to Satono Diamond's chances on very soft or heavy ground.
Asked what he wanted to see in the run up to the race, Ikee said: "I would love for it not to rain between now and Sunday."
Odds-on favourite Enable was added to the Arc field at the supplementary stage on Wednesday morning and, with no further defections, the provisional field now stands at 20.
With the Arc a 72-hour declaration race for the first time this year the final line-up will be known on Thursday morning.
Much of the remaining mystery surrounds which of Aidan O’Brien’s numerous entries will take their place and which one Ryan Moore will choose.
Order Of St George was a top-priced 10-1 on Wednesday ahead of stablemates Winter and Capri (14-1) and Highland Reel (16-1).
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