Tarnawa in "great shape" ahead of Arc bid
Tarnawa in "great shape" ahead of Arc bid

Dermot Weld has moved to allay fears that Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe favourite Tarnawa's hopes of Longchamp glory may have been derailed by injury.

The five-year-old was most recently seen finishing second in last Saturday's Irish Champions Stakes, coming home three-quarters of a length behind Aidan O'Brien's St Mark's Basilica at Leopardstown. 

A steward's inquiry was called after Tarnawa and jockey Colin Keane were carried across the track by the winner but it was decided the infraction was not enough to warrant altering the result. 

Fears were raised almost immediately regarding the five-year-old's condition as her clash with St Mark's Basilica saw her forced onto unwatered ground. 

There were worries that the incident may have caused the superstar mare an injury and Weld immediately admitted he too was worried by how she would come out of the race. 

However, the Rosewell House handler has moved to clarify the situation, providing a positive update on the fitness of his daughter of Shamardal. 

"She has come out of the race very well," he's quoted as saying by the Racing Post. "She's in great shape. 

"Given that they drifted all the way across to even beyond the chase track at Leopardstown, I have to admit I was worried about the firmness of the ground over there and the damage it might have caused her. Fortunately, she is fine." 

Last Saturday's defeat was Tarnawa's first in six outings, the high point of that run arguably being her success in last November's Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland. 

The Arc has been her long-stated goal for the season and it now looks to be all systems go for her return to Longchamp. 

Past trips to the Bois de Boulogne have proved successful for the five-year-old. 

She was twice seen in the 16th arrondissement of Paris in 2020, winning on both occasions. 

The first of those was a success in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille in September, beating Cristian Demuro's Raabihah by three lengths before backing it up the following month with a short neck triumph over Alpine Star to claim the Prix de l'Opera. 

October's Arc sees Tarnawa take on a star-studded field, including the reopposing St Mark's Basilica, one of 13 Aidan O'Brien horses still holding an entry. 

Love, Japan and Santa Barbara also remain in the field, while Godolphin's St Leger hero Hurricane Lane is also retained, as are the John and Thady Gosden pair of Mishriff and Stradivarius

Despite her defeat at Leopardstown, Tarnawa remains the favourite with the bookmakers to claim the Group 1 and Weld says she is shaping up well ahead of her big date in a fortnight's time. 

With only two runs for his stable star so far this season, the master Irish handler is confident about her condition, with his plan now to do the bare minimum to ensure she is ready to go at Longchamp. 

He added: "She came forward nicely from her first run back at Leopardstown to the Irish Champion Stakes. She won't do a whole lot between now and the Arc - we'll keep her nice and fresh for it."

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