Sunday’s 100th Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) promises to be a vintage edition at ParisLongchamp. Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Tarnawa will tackle three-year-old stars Adayar, Hurricane Lane, and Snowfall, with added intrigue courtesy of Japan’s Chrono Genesis and Deep Bond.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) – Race 4 (10:05 a.m. ET)
Tarnawa was kept in training this season precisely for the Arc, and the Aga Khan homebred arrives in peak form for Dermot Weld. After sailing through her comeback in the Aug. 5 Ballyroan (G3) at Leopardstown, Tarnawa cut back in trip for the Irish Champion (G1) and finished an excellent second to the now-retired St Mark’s Basilica. Had her younger rival not carried her across the course, Tarnawa might have come even closer. Thus the daughter of Shamardal figures to deliver another top effort back up to about 1 1/2 miles here, and she’s well drawn in post 3 with Christophe Soumillon.
The prospect of Sunday rain turning the ground very soft is not a concern for Tarnawa, since she captured the Prix de l’Opera (G1) on heavy going on 2020 Arc Day. Nor would such conditions be a hindrance to the prime contenders from the classic generation.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is double-handed with classic heroes Adayar and Hurricane Lane, both Frankel colts. Adayar posted a stunning upset of the Derby (G1) at a rain-softened Epsom, then enhanced his historic stature by beating top older horse Mishriff in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1). Aside from the rarity of completing a treble in the Arc, Adayar has two potential causes for pause. He skipped his intended prep in the Prix Niel (G2) due to a hind leg infection, and now must work out a trip from post 11 in the 15-horse field. Jockey William Buick, who had the option to ride Hurricane Lane, keeps faith with Adayar.
Hurricane Lane suffered his only career loss at Adayar’s hands in the Derby, where he placed third despite throwing both front shoes. Rebounding with a victory in the Irish Derby (G1), Hurricane Lane crushed the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) over a very soft Arc course and distance. The chestnut extended his streak to three in the Sept. 11 St. Leger (G1) at Doncaster. That venerable about 1 3/4-mile classic has not been a springboard to Arc success, however; no horse has won both in the same season, so Hurricane Lane would make history if he defies that stat in the Arc’s centennial. James Doyle picks up the mount on Hurricane Lane in post 2.
Aidan O’Brien’s dual classic-winning filly Snowfall was the antepost favorite for the Arc, until she was overturned in her course-and-distance prep in the Sept. 12 Prix Vermeille (G1). But it might be a mistake to take that result too much to heart, considering that the Deep Impact blueblood wasn’t in the best place tactically, in a race that was designed as a scouting expedition. Even so, Snowfall turned in a rattling final sectional to get up for second to well-regarded Teona, who would have re-opposed in the Arc on better ground. Instead, Teona is now pointing to the Breeders’ Cup. Snowfall is eligible to regain her imperious form as displayed in her Epsom, Irish, and Yorkshire Oaks (G1) conquests. Out of a full sister to Found, winner of the 2016 Arc at Chantilly, Snowfall will break from post 9 with the significant weight advantage afforded to her demographic.
The presence of Ryan Moore in the saddle reiterates Snowfall’s status as the Ballydoyle number one. Ironically, that was the position of Love around this time a year ago, until O’Brien canceled her Arc bid reportedly due to the projected soft going. And if he hadn’t, she couldn’t have run anyway once the Ballydoyle horses were ruled out thanks to contaminated feed. Love was at the top of her game then, following romps in the 1000 Guineas (G1) as well as the Epsom and Yorkshire Oaks. Although a brave (if tactical) winner of the June 16 Prince of Wales’s (G1) in her reappearance, Love regressed to third behind Adayar in the King George and to Mishriff in the Juddmonte International (G1). The Galileo filly sought an easier spot in the Sept. 12 Blandford (G2), but couldn’t give nine pounds to up-and-coming sophomore La Petite Coco and got chinned on the line. While Love’s task to recapture the glory will be harder in boggy conditions, she has loads of class and Frankie Dettori.
Stablemate Broome, the mount of Japanese legend Yutake Take, figures to race prominently. A front-running winner of the July 4 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1), the somewhat dour son of Australia couldn’t match the speed of Japan’s Deep Bond in the course-and-distance Prix Foy (G2) Sept. 12. But that was over a much quicker course. If the rain helps Broome, it might not dampen Deep Bond’s hopes either. While not a celebrity at home, Deep Bond dominated the about 1 7/8-mile Hanshin Daishoten (G2) on soft prior to a close second in the May 2 Tenno Sho Spring (G1) over two metric miles. The son of Kizuna, who was fourth in the 2013 Arc, picks up Mickael Barzalona.
Chrono Genesis has stronger credentials to give Japan a long-sought Arc trophy. Her arguably unlucky near-miss to Mishriff in the Mar. 27 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) on World Cup night gives her sparkling collateral form in Europe. Twice a convincing winner of the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) over males, Chrono Genesis also captured the prestigious Arima Kinen (G1) last December. The daughter of 2004 Arc hero Bago has been deliberately kept fresh for Paris, and her proficiency on rain-affected tracks is a plus. The caveat, though, is that jockey Oisin Murphy will have to deal with post 14.
The leading French-trained hope, Raabihah, hopes to improve from her fifth in last year’s Arc. The daughter of 2009 Arc legend Sea the Stars took a while to regain the winner’s circle this term, but did so emphatically in the Aug. 22 Prix de Pomone (G2) at Deauville. Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget had another Arc weekend option, so it could be telling that he goes for the big prize. Yet post 15 does her no favors.
The William Haggas-trained Alenquer could be the biggest value in the field. Successful over Adayar and Yibir in the Sandown Classic Trial (G3), he missed Epsom but returned triumphant in the King Edward VII (G2) at Royal Ascot. His distant third to Hurricane Lane in the Grand Prix de Paris isn’t a true bill, since Alenquer was too far back in a tactical race, and the Arc dynamic could suit him better. Alenquer was best of the rest to Mishriff in the Juddmonte International, beating Love, and the son of noted German sire Adlerflug acts on heavy going. Also by Adlerflug is Torquator Tasso, the German Horse of the Year who warmed up by capturing the Grosser Preis von Baden (G1).
A quartet of sophomores rounds out the cast. Mojo Star, runner-up to Adayar as a 50-1 maiden at Epsom, likewise played second fiddle to Hurricane Lane in the St. Leger. Sealiway was a star on the 2020 Arc undercard, when trouncing the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) to become France’s champion two-year-old colt. But he hasn’t raced since his second to St Mark’s Basilica in the June 6 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) (G1). Bubble Gift and Baby Rider, both unplaced in the Grand Prix de Paris, were separated by a nose when one-two in the Sept. 12 Prix Niel (G2).
The Arc serves as a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Four other Challenge events are on Arc Day – the Lagardere, Prix Marcel Boussac (G1), Prix de l’Abbaye (G1), and the Opera – and the Prix de la Foret (G1) usually has Breeders’ Cup implications as well. The full preview of the undercard Group 1s is available here.