As the world is slowly getting back to normal, recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this flat racing season has been more exciting than ever. The phrase ‘you don’t always know what you have until you lose it’ is tossed around a lot in sport, but perhaps it has been more poignant than ever this year, after the majority of the last 18 months have seen races take place behind closed doors.
The return of spectators to the racetrack has brought than extra aura of excitement back into the game, at a time when it was much needed — and shook up the betting on horse racing in the process. The most recent Arc weekend at Longchamp saw a fantastic festival of racing, culminating with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. As has been the case this season, there was plenty of anticipation in the ante-poste betting, with even the best horse racing betting tips struggling to predict a winner. As has been the case for a lot of races this season, there was always bound to be an upset. Read on, as we go through what happened over the Arc weekend in Paris.
Torquator Tasso shocks everyone
While credit certainly has to be given to Marcel Weiss’s Torquator Tasso, with hindsight few would have favoured him to go all the way at the start of the race. Coming in at a remarkable 80/1, the Rene Piechulek ridden horse prevailed in one of Europe’s richest races. There was a stunned silence around Longchamp, as if supporters were still made to stay in their homes as the Parisians were in sheer disbelief of what they had just witnessed.
For a jockey like Piechulek to be running in the Arc for just the first time, the result certainly surprised him: “I’m very honoured that I was able to ride in such a race,” he said. “I think it’s going to be tomorrow before I realise what it really means.
“There was not a lot of pace in the race and I tried to get a position towards the leading horses so that when we got to the final straight I could really launch my horse. He’s a horse that gets better and faster the longer the straight, so I wanted to make use of it.”
Adayar struggles again
It is certainly no easy feat to win the King George and the Derby in one year and you got a sense that Charlie Appleby’s Adayar was feeling the effects of a long season as he faded in the final furlong. The rain in Paris made for tumultuous conditions, making it hard for jockey William Buick to really establish any kind of control over the race — finishing in a rather underwhelming fourth place.
While the result will leave a bitter taste in Appleby’s mouth, the year has been a largely successful one, but with minor honours in Qatar as well as Paris, there is room for improvement going into the biggest races next season.
British winner in the Prix de la Foret
With all the hype rightfully going to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe over the weekend, the secondary race Prix de la Foret had been overlooked by some, and with Appleby missing out on top prize with Adayar he can take some comfort in the dominant display of Space Blues.
No one could really get close to the five-year-old, who controlled proceedings from the off and swept into a heavy lead by the time the final furlong came around — seeing off the likes of Pearls Galore and Rossi Stephane Pasquier’s Speak Of The Devil.