The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is usually a mouth-watering prospect and the 2021 event on the banks of the River Seine is shaping up to be no different.
Europe’s premier middle distance race looks set to be a real cracker this year, with all the top equine athletes set to descend on Longchamp.
The likes of Sea The Stars, Treve and Enable have seen their names added to the roll of honour in the last 15 years, but who will bag the Group 1 and the prestige that comes with it on October 2nd?
The Clash of the Generations
While the likes of the Eclipse, the Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes allow us to see the three-year-olds and four-year-olds locking horns, the Arc is the real test of the mettle of the generations.
The younger horses get 6lb from their elders in Paris, which has looked generous at times, with eight of the nine winners between 2003 and 2011 coming from the Classic crop. More recently, though, that has been less of a trend with the last three winners four or older.
This year, Tarnawa looks to be leading the line for the older brigade, with Dermot Weld’s filly the only five-year-old in the top four in most markets.
The Breeders’ Cup winner may well have won the Arc last year, judged on her performance in the States and previously in the Prix de l’Opera on Arc weekend, but connections decided to wait a year.
Her run in the Irish Champion Stakes was more than pleasing over a trip that’s probably her minimum, but this year’s three-year-olds look a decent bunch.
Of the 14 Group 1s over a mile or further open to all age groups in the UK, Ireland or France this year, 10 have gone to the three-year-olds.
The Clash of the Form Lines
Not only does the Arc bring together the different age groups into one mammoth battle over 1m4f, but it also pieces together the different pieces of form from the campaign so far.
We’ve seen co-favourite Tarnawa clash with St Mark’s Basilica, who had previously beaten Mishriff in the Eclipse, while John Gosden’s globe trotter has also tasted defeat to the Derby winner, Adayar in the King George.
The Godolphin charge beat his stable-mate Hurricane Lane at Epsom before that one went on to complete a hat-trick of Group 1 prizes.
This race horse ‘six degrees of separation’ simply sets us up nicely to bring together the best performances from throughout the season into the melting pot of the French capital - and that’s before we’ve added Oaks winner Snowfall, the Japanese contingent, and the home team who have been responsible for the last two winners, into the mix.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Trends
With Arc weekend upon us, we’ve picked out these five interesting trends for finding the champ:
- Of the last 20 winners, none had been sent off bigger than 33/1 in their career
- 19 of the last 20 were previous Group 1 winners
- All but one had at least four career victories to their name
- 19 of the 20 had won a race within their last four starts
- 18 out of 20 had gone no further than 12f so far in their career
Applying this criteria ruthlessly knocks out some big fancies for the 2021 renewal. Adayar has just three career wins so far, Snowfall is eliminated having been sent off at 50/1 for last year’s Fillies Mile, while Hurricane Lane’s St Leger win puts him out on distance grounds.
In fact, only 2 of the 15 runners that have been declared for the race tick each of those five boxes.
They are Tarnawa and German outsider Torquator Tasso.
Best bets for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
With an unbeaten record, Aidan O’Brien St Mark’s Basilica, would have been our shout to take home Arc glory, but considering he's been retired to stud in the last week or so, our preference will go to Tarnawa,
She may well have got the better of St Mark's Basilica had they stuck to a straighter racing line at Leopardstown last time, a race which would have taken her winning streak to six races.
She is quite clearly world class and can boost her credentials ahead of Sunday thanks to the fact she has already won over the course and distance, with that victory coming in the Prix Vermeille in September of last year.
Ground conditions should be no concern and with Christophe Soumillion in the saddle, they should be the combination to beat.
For those looking for a bigger priced play, a dabble at the Swinger market might be the way to go, with a focus on the home contingent.
While the absence of the Ballydoyle runners will have helped the French claim a clean sweep on the first five last year, there’s no getting away from the fact that 60% of horses to finish in the frame in the last 10 years have been trained in France.
Raabihah rattled home late from the back for fifth in the race last year, and has reappeared this term in decent nick, with a Group 2 win at Deauville surely having her spot on for another crack this term.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes place on Sunday 2nd October and will be available to bet on via Tote. Check out the latest pools now.