2021 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: essential info for the big race at Longchamp
The 2021 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (3.05 Longchamp, Sunday) is the most prestigious race open to horses of all ages in Europe and is the race that typically crowns the best middle-distance horse of the year. Whereas the Derby is open only to three-year-olds, the Arc pits the best of multiple generations of middle-distance superstars against each other.
The action is not contained to the Arc, though, with two days of top-class racing at Longchamp featuring a total of eight Group 1s across Saturday and Sunday.
When and where is the meeting?
Arc weekend takes place on Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3 at Longchamp racecourse in the heart of Paris. The Arc, run over a mile and a half, is due off at 3.05pm GMT on Sunday afternoon.
Why is the Arc so important?
Run over a testing mile and a half, the Arc is one of the biggest and most prestigious global races with a rich history dating back to Comrade's inaugural win in 1920.
The star horses, trainers and jockeys in Britain, France, Ireland and beyond congregate for a true battle of the best.
The Arc has a stellar list of winners and has been won by many of the sport's most legendary equine stars, including the likes of Mill Reef, Dancing Brave and modern greats Sea The Stars, Treve and Enable.
Frankie Dettori is the most successful jockey in the history of the race with six wins – including twice with Enable in 2017 and 2018 – while legendary French handler Andre Fabre holds the trainers' record with eight victories.
Given its importance and prestige, winning the Arc is not only a huge achievement in sporting terms, but also from a breeding perspective for prospective stallions and mares.
The horses to look out for in the Arc
Last year's Breeders' Cup Turf winner Tarnawa has proved herself at Longchamp with two Group 1 wins at the track, and the Dermot Weld-trained filly looks the one to beat having been aimed at this race all year.
Leading owners Godolphin have not had a winner in the Arc since 2002 but have one of their strongest hands yet in the dynamic duo Adayar and Hurricane Lane. Adayar could become the first Derby winner to follow up in the Arc since Golden Horn in 2015 while his St Leger-winning stablemate Hurricane Lane is chasing a fourth Group 1 victory of the year.
Star filly Snowfall had her lustre dimmed somewhat after suffering a first defeat of the season on Arc trials day two weeks ago, but she was the longtime ante-post favourite for a reason and will be difficult to stop if at her destructive best.
Chrono Genesis could become the first Japanese-trained horse to win the Arc while the likes of Love, Teona and Alenquer form a stellar supporting cast.
What are the other big races?
Prix du Royallieu
There are two Group 1 races at Longchamp on Saturday, beginning with this 1m6f contest for fillies and mares. The Royallieu was only bumped up to top tier status two years ago, but has had two winners befitting that status since in 2019 Oaks winner Anapurna and the David Menuisier-trained Wonderful Tonight.
Prix du Cadran
The Prix du Cadran is run over two and a half miles and is the French equivalent of the Ascot Gold Cup, making it the country's most prestigious staying race.
Fingers are firmly crossed that we could see the much anticipated rematch between Britain's two best stayers, Stradivarius and Trueshan.
Their preference for differing ground conditions have kept them apart since Trueshan won the Long Distance Cup at Ascot last October, well ahead of a below-par Stradivarius, and both are being aimed at Longchamp.
1.15: Prix Marcel Boussac
Sunday's sensational offering of the Arc and five other Group 1 races is kicked off by the Marcel Boussac. Europe's top trainers often target this race with the juvenile fillies they believe have a chance of developing into Classic contenders the following year. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Found won in 2014 before finishing second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas the following year and going one better in the 2016 Arc.
1.55: Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere
This 7f race for two-year-old colts and fillies is France's most prestigious juvenile race and has been dominated by the home team in recent years, although Aidan O'Brien's eight victories included a golden spell in which he won five out of six Lagarderes between 2001 and 2006. Saeed bin Suroor was the last British-based trainer to succeed in the race (Royal Marine in 2018).
3.50: Prix de l'Opera
This 1m2f contest for fillies and mares aged three and above was won by Tarnawa last year, with the winner earning an automatic spot at the Breeders' Cup in November.
4.25: Prix de l'Abbaye
British and Irish-trained horses have a rich history in this sprint over five furlongs and were responsible for seven straight Abbaye winners until Wooded's victory for French trainer Francis Graffard last year. Impressive Goodwood scorer Suesa could be the one to beat on her home turf this year.
5.00: Prix de la Foret
With no seven furlong Group 1 races in Britain, the Foret is often targeted by specialists at that distance and the race has been won for the last three years by the William Haggas-trained One Master. Space Blues is a strong contender this year for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, while Ed Walker is toying with the idea of stepping his July Cup winner Starman up in trip for the race.
How do I watch?
For those able, why not in person? The capacity at last year's Arc was reduced to 1,000 because of Covid-19 restrictions, but this year there is no limit on attendance and British and Irish racing fans have been encouraged to make the journey across the English Channel.
All visitors aged 12 and over are required to present proof of either a negative PCR or Antigen Covid test carried out in the last 72 hours, or proof of full vaccination.
Alternatively, Sky Sports Racing will have full coverage of both days of action, while ITV Racing will be on air on the network's main channel from 1pm on Sunday with build up to the big race.
Who should I bet on in the Arc?
Have a look at the cards and check out our free bet offers to start with, then stay up to date with the Racing Post website, mobile app and newspaper where our expert tipsters and reporters will be on hand to bring you the best betting advice and all the latest news in the run-up to the big weekend.
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