All times are UK times - all photographs on this page are (c) aprh 2009 www.aprh.fr
17:20 That is it from Longchamp on Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day 2009, a day that will live in my memory for however many years I may have on this planet.
He may “only” be a horse, but Sea The Stars today earned his place amongst the greats of the sport – he really has earned the right to be called a star.
The crowds have really thinned out now but thousands will be going home with their memories of a great race and a great horse – each of them will have their “I was there” memories.
When Qatar began to sponsor the Arc I wonder if they realised their name would become associated with the greatest horse of this generation.
From a beautiful Longchamp – bon nuit.
17:01 Well I suppose it was too much to ask for two fairytales in one afternoon, after Sea The Stars victory in the Arc many eyes turned to the 2m 4f Prix Du Cadran, where the “King of Ascot”, Yeats, was to make his swansong.
With the pace throughout, Yeats hit the front as they turned for home and another roar emerged from the Longchamp enclosures. However Mick Kinane on John Oxx’s Alandi tracked his every move and halfway down the home straight Alandi hit the front.
Yeats was unable to respond and there was further bad news for him as the favourite, and local hero, Kasbah Bliss swept past him as well.
This resulted in a fantastic battle for the line and the decision was literally on the nod, with Aldani, in the Aga Khan’s colours, having his nose in front where it mattered, capping a great day for Oxx and Kinane.
15:50 I have been racing for more years than I care to remember and I have never felt as I did before this afternoon’s Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe. The atmosphere was electric, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end, there was a chill down my spine.
The runners emerged onto the track, almost last out was No 18 Sea The Stars, winner of the 2,000 Guineas, winner of the Epsom Derby – lets face it winner of everything he has competed in this year.
As he emerged a round of applause, then a cheer, rose from the crowd. There was a feeling something special was going to happen in the next 15 mins.
The sense of expectation was palpable.
Win or lose Sea The Stars was going to be the star of the show.
The race was tactically terrible – two pacemakers, Set Sail and Grand Ducal made a mockery of their role, they certainly did not help their stablemates. They were a country mile clear as they turned for home.
In the main group Dar Re Mi was prominent as was Cavalryman, a late supplemented entry.
Mick Kinane meanwhile, was happily settled mid-division, scraping paint off the rail.
Part way down the home straight the pacesetters came back to the field.
Sea The Stars looked to be in trouble, against the rail with nowhere to go. Kinane did not panic, he found the gap, weaved his way through and hit the front about a furlong from home.
The crowd roared, knowing they were seeing something very, very special.
Clear of his rivals the fight was on for second and a significant fight it was as Youmzain, Cavalryman, Conduit and Dar Re Mi all battled hard, none of them giving up without a fight.
The race will be remembered as being Sea The Stars, however some time should be taken out to remember the runner-up, yet again Youmzain – Mick Channon’s stable star took the runners-up spot in the Arc.
The second does not normally get remembered – Youmzain should be.
A head behind Youmzain was Cavalryman with Conduit a further head back in third.
Dar Re Mi was a further length back in fifth and Fame And Glory sixth.
But there is only one horse being talked about here, the great, let me repeat that the great Sea The Stars.
I have never seen a horse like him and I probably never will again.
It is with pride and emotion I can say – “I was there.”
14:42 A tale of “what if’s” in the Prix De L’Opera.
It is a similar story to the earlier races with a late runner sweeping to win, this time it was the Aga Khan’s Shalanaya, who swept well clear to win the contest almost unchallenged.
Midday had a very tardy start and she just lost out to Board Meeting in a photograph for second place.
The favourite Alpine Rose met all sorts of trouble in running and was lucky to take fourth place, a terrible ride from her jockey Gerard Mosse. Ryan Moore fared little better on the unbeaten Crystal Capella, although she was in all probability outclassed.
14:19 The Qatar Petroleum Prix De L’Opera next, in which there is plenty of British and Irish interest, with Henry Cecil’s Oaks runner-up Midday and Sir Michael Stoute’s unbeaten Crystal Capella the main challengers.
14:13 A quick double for trainer Alain de Royer Dupre as Siyouni pulls off something of a shock in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagarder.
John Gosden’s Pounced, under Jimmy Fortune, set out to make all in the mile contest and it was a tactic that almost paid off as many tried to catch him and all but one failed.
The one being the winner who had been settled in fourth pace and surprise, surprise was launched with a late run to claim victory in the final 100m. Pounced claimed a well deserved second place.
The favourite Lope De Vega tracked the leader for most of the contest but was unable to respond when the pace quickened, eventually coming home fourth.
Best backed of the British raiders was Richard Hannon’s Dick Turpin. Richard Hughes contrived to get himself blocked in as they entered the home straight and when he eventually found daylight he had been left far too much to do.
Godolphin’s Buzzword took third spot.
13:39 If you are of a nervous disposition then French racing is definitely not for you.
Invariably there is a sprint finish and the Prix Marcel Boussac proved to be no exception.
Kilo Alpha set the pace but that was more by dint of taking a strong hold having been a right so and so going into the stalls, almost having to be lifted in.
Olivia and American Nizzy were happy to track.
It was in the closing stages that everything changed with Joanna, Wedding March and the favourite, Rosanara all running on. The win is all the more amazing considering his rider Christophe Soumillion came back from injury only yesterday, following a fracture to his elbow a month ago, for which it was believed he would be out of action for four months.
It was the favourite who prevailed but only after giving supporter palpitations before coming out the two length winner.
It was desperately close for minor honours with On Verra, who ran on really late, just getting the call for second in a three way go with Joanna and Wedding March. The three separated by a nose and a head.
13:13 As always there is a big crowd here at Longchamp and many, if not a majority, of the voices to be heard are British.
Returning to the Prix De L’Abbaye, Borderlescot came home sixth and he was followed home by Tax Free and Monsieur Chevalier.
Strike Up The Band came home tenth.
12:59 Well a British clean sweep in the Prix De L’Abbaye although not quite as expected.
The script said the flying filly Fleeting Spirit was destined for International glory, instead the honours went to Lambourn and the stable of Stan Moore as Johnny Murtagh bought home Total Gallery in front.
Murtagh hit the front about 200m from home and it looked as though the three year old was there to be shot at as Fleeting Spirit, War Artist and Benbaun all launched late charges.
Undoubtedly Fleeting Spirit was running on best of all but Total Gallery had enough in hand to thwart the charge.
There was little between War Artist and Benbaun as they crossed the line but the former was given the verdict after the judge consulted the camera.
12:32 The Prix De L’Abbaye next, a race the Brits have almost made their own, although last season it descended into farce following a false start.
Fleeting Spirit is the big British hope although Borderlescott also has a big chance along with War Artist.
12:29 An 18 runner handicap to set the ball rolling and it was an all French affair over the 1m 4f of the Arc course.
Run in typical French style the entire complexion of the contest changed in the final furlong where the front runners Enreve and Mina Hill were overwhelmed first of all by Devoir De Memoire and then, more effectively by the top weight Balaythous, who ate up the ground to come home the easy winner.
Devoir De Memoire held on to retain second with Le Cacardy also running on, claiming third and Seabreeze D’Ho taking fourth.
11:47 Bonjour from Longchamp, where I hope we can bring you full updates, although the wifi connections are bit flakey.
It has been overcast all morning but the sun is now breaking through.
I cannot wait for the Arc and to see how Sea The Stars performs. He has done enough this season to prove he is a great. If he wins today it will be the icing on an already well baked cake.
Our selections are as follows:-
|Devoir De Memoire
|Galeo Des Flandres
Return to race archive:
The time in brackets is the time the horse was officially declared a non-runner.
SC - Self Certificate
VC - Vet's Certificate
All times are UK
12:15 Prix De Doha Handicap 2,400m
1st 1 Balaythous 20/1
2nd 9 Devoir De Memoire 15/2
3rd 3 Le Bacardy 10/1
4th 11 Seabreeze De Memoire 10/3 fav
Distances 1 1/2 & short head
Places €8.50 €4.90 €4.20 €
12:45 Prix De L'Abbaye 1,000m
1st 4 Total Gallery 10/1
2nd 15 Fleeting Spirit 11/8 fav
3rd 12 War Artist 6/1
Distances neck & 1/2
Places €3.60 €1.60 €1.90
13:20 Prix Marcel Boussac 1,600m
1st 2 Rosanara 2/1 fav
2nd 10 On Verra 33/1
3rd 3 Joanna 14/1
Distance 2l & nose
Places €1.30 €5.80 €3.00
13:55 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere 1,400m
1st 1 Siyouni 7/1
2nd 7 Pounced 12/1
Distances 1 1/2
Places €3.30 €5.70
14:30 Prix De L'Opera 2,000m
1st 6 Shalanaya 20/1
2nd 8 Board Meeting 10/1
3rd 5 Midday 11/4 fav
9 Ran Nr's 3 & 10
Distances 1 1/2 & short head
Places €4.50 €2.70 €2.30
15:15 Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe 2,400m
1st 18 Sea The Stars 4/5 fav
2nd 1 Youmzain 20/1
3rd 16 Cavalryman 12/1
Distances 2 & head
Places €1.40 €3.30 €3.70
16:45 Prix Du Cardin 4,000m
1st 1 Aldani 5/1
2nd 10 Kasbah Bliss 100/30 fav
3rd 8 Yeats 4/1
Distances short head & 1 1/2
Places €1.90 €1.80 €1.80
17:15 Prix Barzan Handicap 2,400m
1st 1 Nemerologue
2nd 7 Farhan
3rd 17 Sirocco De Pame
4th 10 Crossbar
Distances 1/2 & short neck
Win €6.90 (coupled with No5)
Places €3.50 €3.10 €5.70