Let the guessing game begin: track riding good but how much rain will arrive?
The annual guessing game as to exactly what the state of the ground will be for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe looks like going right to the wire, with almost as many versions of how much rain will fall overnight into Sunday morning – and when it will arrive – as there are weather websites.
Most jockeys agreed that the track rode as good ground on Saturday, largely in accordance with France Galop's measurement of 3.2 on the penetrometer.
"It's a mixture of things and a bit loose in places," said Oisin Murphy. "It's going to be interesting when we're on the fresh ground tomorrow. If we get the rain it will go good to soft."
William Buick, who rode a double on the day, said: "It's not far off good and probably in places just on the quicker side."
If the organisers' own forecast proves correct, the ground might ease to good to soft by the time racing gets under way on Sunday, though there is a scenario where a more severe weather intervention occurs.
After racing on Saturday, France Galop's Stephane de Veyrac said: "If the forecast is correct we could get between 4mm and 7mm tonight into Sunday morning. Seven millimetres translates to 3.4 [on the penetrometer] in the morning and perhaps 3.3 or good to soft in the afternoon.
"But there are thunderstorms around to the west of Paris, so that could change things. In any case the weather will be a bit fresher and a bit windier."
In terms of whether any appreciable softening of the ground could improve the chances of those drawn high in the Arc, Stephane Pasquier – who must navigate a path on Study Of Man from widest of all in stall 19 – was cautious.
"It's not the best draw in the world but we just have to get on with it," said Pasquier. "It depends on on what we get in the way of rain overnight and in the morning. I'm not sure it will really change things in one sense because there is fresh ground on the inside. The only way it might help is if some of those on the inside tire on softer ground."
The rail will be moved to its minimum limit for Sunday's racing, meaning an eight-metre strip of fresh ground around the majority of the course and 16 metres in the straight.
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