Arc d’Triomphe System

The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe System

The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is one of the final major Group 1 races of the year and is open to thoroughbreds horses of 3 years and above.

It is a Group 1 flat horse race ran at Longchamp in France over 1m 3f 204y (1 1/2 miles) and takes place on the first Sunday in October.

The “Arc” as it’s commonly known is one of the worlds most prestigious, and richest, flat races, and every year world class horses come from all corners of the globe to compete for the title of  ”Champion of Europe”.

In fact it has become so great a race that many trainers aim their 3 year olds to compete in the race over other well known trophies.

For example the Triple Crown, consisting of The English 2000 Guineas, The Derby and The St. Leger for colts and the 1000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St. Leger for fillies, used to be the highest honour a 3 year old thoroughbred could win.

It proved that the horse could compete over a variety of distances from 1 mile to 1m, 6f, 132 yds. However in recent years winners of the Derby and the Guineas have instead chosen to target their horses at this French Group 1 rather than the oldest English classic, and win the Triple Crown.

Unlike many other group 1 races “the Arc” is a race run by a larger number of runners, usually around 20. Whereas the English Derby is usually raced with around 12 runners this can cause a lot of bumping and bouncing until the final turn into the straight.

The Longchamp course is a challenge for all the runners competing and the following statistics can help you narrow down your pick for the race.

Whilst the 33/1 2012 winner Solemia, who just beat Japanese star Orfevre on the line, didn’t conform to a few of these statistics, the 2013 winner Treve nearly met every single one. Therefore they are useful in narrowing down potential winners for the greatest race in Europe.

A guide based on past historical winners of races is always useful when deciding on a horse to back but remember – nothing is set in stone and the Arc brings the best thoroughbreds together from all corners of the world so anyone could happen. Therefore a more generalist approach is required for a race of this magnitude.

The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe Horse Racing System

These points are in order of success, so a French based yard is a more likely indicator than the draw the horse starts from.

  • French yards have a very good strike rate having won almost 70% of all races since 1980
  • Won at least one Group 1 race before.
  • Won their last outing.
  • Won at least 5 times previously in their career.
  • Has a price of 10/1 or lower.
  • Is a 3 year old.
  • Raced 4 or more times that season.
  • Won over 1m 4f previously.
  • Has raced at Longchamp previously.
  • Has won around the Longchamp course previously.
  • The runners last race was at Longchamp.
  • Won from stall 8 or lower.

French trainers and jockeys have a particularly good record in this race recently with Olivier Peslier winning 3 years in a row from 1996 to 1998 and of course last year on the 33/1 winner Solemia.

If we break it down by country we get these statistics since 1980.

  • French Yards – 23 winners
  • English Yards – 5 winners
  • Irish Yards – 3 winners
  • German Yards – 1 winner (the fastest ever recorded win by the filly Danedream)
  • Italian Yards – 1 winner

Therefore whilst there might be more important statistics related to the horse such as their market price, the number of Group 1 wins and their course experience, it does seem as if the French have this race locked down with a massive 69.69% strike rate since 1980 (23 wins from a total of 33 races).

Therefore I would suggest to look for a French trained horse that matches the rest of the criteria if possible.

The latest winner of the Prix de l’Arc d’Triomphe in 2013, Treve, seemed to frank this system by matching all the criteria but 2.

She didn’t have 4 previous wins that year, the Arc was her 5th run of her unbeaten career. Also she didn’t start from a stall under 5. In fact the first 5 finishers all came from stalls higher than draw 5 and that included Al Kazeem who came 5th, who started from the widest stall available, 18.

Obviously anything can happen in a race and it all depends on the horse, the ground and a million other factors however having a guide to picking out a short list is always good to have and you should remember every first Sunday of October.

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