It’s the 100th Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and again it’s the battle of the heavy weights, with the Aga Khan v’s Godolphin v’s Coolmore, and with the Japanese ready to invade.
In not having won the ‘Arc’ since 2008 when successful with the undefeated Zarkava, HH The Aga Khan IV has his European champion mare Tarnawa as the $3.50 co-favourite with Sportsbet.
It’s Godolphin who also have their Epsom Derby hero Adayar at $3.50, with $6 for the St Leger winner Hurricane Lane who needs to drop back from the St Leger of 1¾m, to 2400m for the Arc.
Coolmore now have their triple Oaks filly Snowfall at $6 following her second in the Prix Vermeille, while multiple Group 1 heroine Love is $21, with St Mark’s Basilica now retired to stud.
The Japanese are again saying 2021 is their ‘Arc year’ with the duel Takarazuka Kinen winner Chrono Genesis at $11 and Deep Bond at $21 having won the Prix Foy, and up to 3000m in Japan.
Now outright favourite, Tarnawa was previously second to St Mark’s Basilica in the Irish Champion Stakes at 1¼m, having won first-up by 6½ lengths in the Ballyroan Stakes of 1½m in August.
More so, as a 4yo last season she was Joint European Champion Older Mare in winning all four starts, climaxing with a length defeat of Magical in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.
In also winning the important Prix de l’Opera and Prix Vermeille, she won four of her seven starts as a 3yo including the Blandford Stakes and was placed in all three starts as a juvenile.
To be again ridden by Colin Keane for Irish trainer Dermot Weld, Tarnawa is by Godolphin’s ill-fated sire-of-sires Shamardal, who has Blue Point and Earthlight shuttling to Darley Kelvinside.
Bred by the Aga Khan Studs in Ireland, she is from the Irish Gr3 placed stakes winner Tarnana, by popular dual Arc sire Cape Cross, who is from the Gr3 placed stakes winner Tarakala, by Dr Fong.
Yes, the Aga Khan has certainly a force in modern day breeding with his unbeaten European Horse of The Year heroine Zarkava having produced the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner Zarak.
In Zarak standing at the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval, it also first housed his 2000 Arc and duel Derby winner Sinndar, who sired the 2011 Arc second Shareta having won the Prix Vermeille.
In Sinndar moving to Gilltown Stud, he stood with the 2003 Arc and Prix du Jockey-Club hero Dalakhani, sire of the Prix du Jockey-Club and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Reliable Man.
The 3yo filly Akiyda in 1982 began the Aga Khan’s Arc de Triomphe success, with The Aga Khan III having Migoli in 1948 and Nuccio in 1952, and Prince Aly Khan with Saint Crespin in 1959.
What lies ahead for the Japanese in matching the Aga Khan’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe success with Oisin Murphy’s mount Chrono Genesis in being sired by the 2004 Arc winner Bago.
In winning the Prix For of 2400m, Deep Bond is by the Prix Niel and Japan Derby winner Kinzua, who was fourth to Treve in 2013, and is a son of the disqualified Arc third placed Deep Impact.
In Japan having six entries in this year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, it’s the four second placings that has overshowed Japan’s 20 runners, with Deep Impact losing third to a negative drug test.
No more so than in 2012 when Orfevre ‘seemed to idle’ for jockey Christophe Soumillon, to go down by a neck to Solemia, and then running second again in 2013, beaten five lengths by Treve.
In Orfevre twice winning the Prix Foy enroute to the Arc, it was Nakayama Festa who was second in 2010 before being a head second to Workforce in the Arc, when leading at the 200m mark.
In 1999 the Japan Cup winner El Condor Pasa finished a half-length second to Montjeu in the Arc, having led at the 100m, and previously winning the Prix Foy and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
And is Japan also targeting Coolmore, as their Japanese bred Snowfall who is a daughter of Deep Impact and Yutaka Take rides the $51 shot Broome for part-owner Masaaki Matsushima.