Brilliant Zarkava wins the Arc
Zarkava produced one of the greatest performances in racing history at Longchamp as she became the first winner to come from stall one since Prince Royale II in 1964 to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Zarkava was given a stunning ride by jockey Christophe Soumillon to come from the back of the field to take the world’s richest turf race worth four million euros from last year’s runner-up Youmzain.
Irish raider Soldier of Fortune dead-heated with It’s Gino for third.
For Zarkava’s owner/breeder Karim The Aga Khan it was something out of this world – and that for a filly who had been labelled an ‘Extra Terrestrial’ when she lost seven lengths three weeks ago at the Prix Vermeille and won easing away.
“It is 90 years that my family have been breeding horses and today really is a dream come to fruition,” said the Aga Khan, who was the last owner to have a three-year-old filly land the Arc in the shape of Akiyda in 1982.
Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre – who won it for the Aga in 2003 with Dalakhani – said as soon as he saw Zarkava in the paddock he realised that there was something special going on.
“She looked so relaxed in the paddock that I thought even the number one draw wasn’t going to be a problem,” said the 64-year-old.
“All through the race I was as relaxed as she appeared to be.
“She is really out of this world, she is something different and I have trained a lot of exceptional fillies and colts to boot.”
Soumillon, who celebrated by thumping his chest several times and threw off his helmet as well as holding out his hand which was not taken to several of his rivals, said that he had rarely experienced something like this victory.
“I was also really relaxed. I wasn’t worried that she would repeat her Prix Vermeille antics. When I entered the straight it was probably the best feeling of my life.
“She is a quite extraordinary filly, a pleasure to ride and probably the best I have ever ridden,” said the Belgian-born rider.
Youmzain ran a splendid race to take second and his new rider Richard Hills, who recently replaced Richard Hughes as the rider, opined that he was an even better horse than the one who finished second to Dylan Thomas in last year’s Arc.
“We slightly missed the split but truthfully he ran a magnificent race and in my opinion he is a better horse than the one that ran in this race last year,” said Hills, who is still to garner a Group One win in 37 attempts in France.
By Pirate Irwin