O'Briens pull out of Paris
In a sensational development last night Aidan (pictured below), Joseph and Donnacha O'Brien withdrew all their intended runners at the Arc meeting at Longchamp today.
This should make hot favourite Enable's task all the easier in the big race as the Ballydoyle runners Epsom Derby winner Serpentine, Mogul - recent Grand Prix de Paris scorer over track and trip - last year's Arc fourth Japan and last year's shock Irish Derby winner Sovereign will all now be absentees.
The confusion first arose of Friday night when equine food supplier GAIN warned that some of their feed had been accidentally contaminated.
The hope was that the contaminated feed would have fully cleared the horses systems by this morning but last night the O'Brien's withdrew all their runners to avoid further confusion and in "the best interests of racing."
It is understood that urine samples of the intended runners that the O'Brien's took themselves were still not totally clear so the decision was made to withdraw.
The Joseph O'Brien-trained Pretty Gorgeous was the 13/8 favourite for the Prix Marcel Bouussac with Ballydoyle's Mother Earth a 12/1 shot but both will now obviously have to miss out.
Donnacha O'Brien-trained the strongly fancied 3/1 chance Fancy Blue in the Prix de l'Opera but there still will be a strong Irish presence with Jessica Harrington's Alpine Star - who finished second this season at both Deauviulle and Chantilly where ironically she was runner up to Fancy Blue in the Prix De Diane - and Dermot Weld's Tarnawa a recent impressive winner at Longchamp.
Christophe Soumillon (inset)