Telecaster team heartened by forecast rain and on the hunt for Arc jockey
The promise of rain in Paris on Sunday and potentially again later this week has strengthened Hughie Morrison's resolve as he prepares Telecaster for a crack at the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
The four-year-old son of New Approach showed that neither testing conditions nor a mile and a half hold any fear for him when making all under Christophe Soumillon to land the Grand Prix de Deauville last month.
While the dual Arc-winning jockey will not be available to Morrison, the trainer believes soft ground will enhance Telecaster's chance in a race for which he is a general 33-1 shot.
"The Arc is the chosen race," said Morrison. "The forecast looks like it might go in our favour, with heavy rain forecast on Sunday and rain on and off during the week. If it doesn’t materialise we might not go, but my main concern beyond that is making sure the horse is well and trying to find a jockey."
Soumillon was aboard Telecaster both at Deauville and also when posting an easy win over a mile and a quarter of the Arc course in June in La Coupe.
Morrison echoed John Gosden's frustration that the UK government has not followed the example of their counterparts in Ireland in granting jockeys quarantine exemptions on Group 1 racedays.
Morrison said: "Twenty-five people in a football squad can fly somewhere to play a match against a squad of 25 others, yet one jockey can't go over in a private plane and be socially distant for the whole time except during the race."
Oisin Murphy could be an option for the ride, should government quarantine rules change, about which there may be further news on Monday.
The penetrometer reading at Longchamp was 3.5 or soft on Friday and weekend rain is likely to remove any chance that conditions will be unsuitably quick for Telecaster.
"I think he'd like it on the slow side of good and we know that he goes on heavy," said Morrison. "Given that it lowers the bar a bit, the deeper the ground, the better it might suit him.
"He had a good gallop on Friday, going a mile and a half with a lead horse. Around the grass here you rise 200ft, so he won't be wanting for stamina. It's what we did ten days before Deauville and this might have been a bit more taxing because we’ve had an incredibly strong headwind here for the last couple of days. He just seems on good terms with himself."
You have to go back to the Italian colt Molvedo in 1961 for a Grand Prix de Deauville winner who went on to land the Arc, although it has not been a completely forlorn source of big-race contenders in more recent times.
The 2004 Grand Prix winner Cherry Mix was denied the double at Longchamp only by Bago, while Masterstroke was third to Solemia in the 2012 Arc, and Siljan's Saga finished fourth to Found in 2016 having been second at Deauville.
In 1994 White Muzzle was sent off at just 7-2 for the Arc after success in the Grand Prix, going on to be a fast-finishing sixth under Yutaka Take.
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