|Son temps à courir – Its “Arc” Time Again|
3 October, 2014
– Lisa Barrett
This Sunday sees the 93rd renewal of the one of the world’s greatest races, the Qatar sponsored Prix de l’ arc de Triomphe. Run every year since 1920 at the Longchamp racecourse situated in the magnificent Bois de Boulogne park complex on the banks of the Seine river, the racecourse is without doubt one of the most picturesque and recognisable in the world.
Over the decades the race has become famous for producing some of this of this century’s greatest horses, and later sires and broodmare sires: Ribot (1955 & 1956) undefeated in his sixteen starts, and a multiple Group One champion and later successful sire, Sea Bird (1965) multiple Group One winner, and recipient of a 145 Timeform rating, an honour he held for 47 years until the great Frankel surpassed it in 2012; Vaguely Noble (1968) who sired Dalia (the first mare to make $1milion at the races and inducted into the American Hall of Fame in 1991); Mill Reef (1971) an exceptional multiple Group One winner, and a top class sire of Derby winners; Alleged (1977 & 1978) one of a only a handful of two-time winners of the race; Dancing Brave whose 1986 victory was one of the most exhilarating in years; Montjeu (1999), multiple Group One winner and champion sire; Dylan Thomas (2007) now a successful dual hemisphere shuttle sire, and last but certainly not least the great Sea The Stars (2009), who got off to a flyer at stud, siring two Classic winners (Taghrooda & Tazira) from his first crop.
It’s not only the boys however that have shined in this famous race, over the past two decades several ladies have shown that they are just as good as the boys when it comes to winning at Longchamp: first of the celebrated ladies was Three Troikas, bred by the famous Head family, who won the race in 1979, following her in 1993 was Urban Sea, dam of arguably the greatest stallion of the modern age, Galileo; and rounding out the trio is the incomparable Zarkava whose 2008 victory, was the first in the race’s 15 years by a filly.
This year’s running is one of the mostly hotly anticipated in years, as the filly Treve looks to go where few horses have been before, and become the first filly in Arc history to win back-to-back running’s of the race. However many are doubting whether the champion filly can make history once again. Her two recent lacklustre performances, a narrow second to Cirrus des Aigles in the Prix Ganay and a disappointing third to The Fugue and Magician in the Prince Of Wales Stakes (Gr.1) showed the great filly’s mind.
According to her trainer Criquette Head, Treve is coming back to her best and the softer going should suit the now 4 year old daughter of Motivator. Criquette was talking after Treve’s final gallop to a group of journalists and couldn’t hide her excitement “Today she has showed she has discovered a big part of her superpowers, it’s good to see as we approach the big day”.
Treve will have an uphill battle as she faces up to three formidable fillies: the Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita, the brilliant King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr.1) victress, Taghrooda, and the late supplemental entry of Tapestry, who handed Taghrooda her sole defeat in the Yorkshire Oaks (Gr.1) earlier this year.
Once again the races boasts a top quality field of colts all hoping to secure their place in racing immortality, among them, the mercurial Galileo colt, Ruler Of The World, whose impressive victory in the Prix Foy (a major trial for the Arc) over Flintshire showed that he has the staying ability needed in the race; the St Leger and Racing Post victor Kingston Hill, the warhorse Al Kazeem, and the trio of Japanese hopefuls, 2014 Dubai Duty Free winner Just A Way who along with Harp Star and Gold Ship will be looking to break the Japanese duck in the race. Whatever the outcome, the Prix de l Arc de Triomphe is a showcase and tribute to one of the most noble creatures we’ve ever had the pleasure to be associated with, the horse.
Bonne chance dans la course de chevaux!
– Guest Writer
“Lisa Barrett”, her psuedonym, currently works at a stud farm in the KZN Midlands. She is absolutely and totally crazy about horses and every aspect of them. She is fascinated by every aspect of the racehorse business, especially pedigrees and would like to one day write a book on her favourite sire!