Solemia was a shock 33/1 winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as the French-trained filly hunted down the Japanese star Orfevre in a pulsating finish to the Longchamp highlight, on a stunning day's racing.
Christophe Soumillon had looked to have the race at his mercy when propelling clear on Orfevre, but the 5/1 shot was tying up in the closing stages and Olivier Peslier managed to get a real tune out of his filly in the last few strides and she went on to win by a neck, with Masterstroke completing the placings in what was a memorable renewal.
2012 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Result:
1. Solemia (O Peslier) 33/1
2. Orfevre (C Soumillon) 5/1
3. Masterstroke (M Barzalona) 11/1
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is the most prestigious horse race in Europe and the second richest horse race on turf behind only the famous Japan Cup, it attracts some of the best horses over 1 mile 4 furlongs from around the world and really does offer them the chance to write their names into the history books. The race is run at the world famous and beautiful Longchamp racecourse at the start of October each season and has grown into a fitting finale for the European flat season. It is always an intriguing race as it often pits the best three year-olds each season against some of their older counter-parts in a fascinating battle of the ages, and likewise that spills over into the betting ring with punters always eager to be involved.
The race is known as the Arc and it has thrown up some legendary winners since it was first run in 1920 when it was won by Comrade, and it has continued to grow in stature ever since. One trainer stands above the others in the history of the Arc and that is the brilliant Andre Fabre who has trained the winner of the race a magnificent seven times. Fabre is a trainer always worth following and his most recent winner in 2006 was the excellent Rail Link, which followed up another Fabre winner in 2005 with Hurricane Run scoring.
It is incredibly tough for any horse to win the race more than once with only six horses ever winning the Arc twice with that last one being Alleged in 1977 and 1978, this is partly due to the competitiveness of the race and partly because of the fact that many horses are retired after an Arc victory. That is true of two great winners in recent times with the brilliant filly Zarkava in 2008, and the incomparable Derby winner Sea The Stars who completed a perfect year in 2009 with a stunning Arc victory before being retired to stud.
Zarkava showed in 2008 that fillies and mares can be successful in the Arc De Triomphe, indeed they have won the race 17 times in its history and that means that punters should not rule out a top class filly when having a bet on the Arc. At the same time punters should be looking for the home horses when placing their bet with French trained horses winning the Arc 64 times in its history, their dominance is proven by the fact that the UK & Ireland are all the way back with just ten victories. In modern times however it is a race which is increasingly being targeted by all the major yards across Europe making it a much more cosmopolitan race than it was in its formative years.