As the flat horse racing season heads into the autumn, the buzz around the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe begins to gather pace. The race, held in October at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, is one of the biggest in Europe with €5m of prize money at stake, making it the second richest flat turf race in the world.
The event is open to horses three years and older and covers a distance of 2,400 meters (1½ miles).
Snowfall emerges as leading contender
The 2021 edition of the Arc is set to have a strong line-up with Snowfall being named as the early favourite in the ante-post horse racing predictions.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained mare landed a third-straight Group 1 victory in the Yorkshire Oaks at the York Ebor Festival, propelling her to 9/4 in the betting.
Snowfall has done plenty this season to back up her credentials. It was hard not to be blown away by her 16-length win in the Epsom Oaks back in June. She consolidated that with another Group 1 triumph in the Irish Oaks before making it three in a row at York.
The three-year-old filly will certainly be tested by the all-age, all-sex line-up in Paris but the conditions should give her a decent weight concession over some of her closest rivals.
A wealth of talent
Snowfall may be the early favourite but the provisional entry list features an ominous field of talent.
Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Adayar is currently second in the pecking order at 7/2 ahead of Tarnawa who already has two Group 1 wins on French soil under her belt, as well as a Breeders’ Cup Turf crown.
Juddmonte International winner Mishriff, Hurricane Lane, St Marks Basilica and Alenquer are just a few more of this year’s top performers who could go well here if they make the final entry list.
An elite weekend of racing
The Arc weekend is a feast for horse racing lovers with seven Group 1 races across the weekend. Eight horses have won the showpiece race twice, the most recent being Enable who triumphed under jockey Frankie Dettori in 2017 and 2018.
Those wins handed Dettori leading jockey status with a total of six Arc wins. The leading trainer is Frenchman André Fabre who has guided eight winners, the first coming in 1987 (Trempolino) and the last in 2019 (Waldgeist).
The lure of the Arc has even had an effect on the English Triple Crown with potential winners such as Nashwan (1989) and Sea the Stars (2009) deciding to skip the St Leger (the final leg of the historic treble) in favor of heading to France.
Nashwan ultimately missed the Arc but Sea the Stars was triumphant in what was the final race of his career and became the only horse in history to win the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Arc in the same year.
The Arc is a race that continues to grow in stature and prize money and is one of the must-see events on the racing calendar. And the 2021 edition has all the ingredients to be one of the best in years.