It was a blustery day in Paris. A strong wind blew across Longhcamp as post time for the Arc drew close. A drizzle now and then but the rain stayed away. The going was good to soft. The first five races did not establish a pattern.
As the wagering for the Arc opened, Zarkava was the clear favourite and her odds were slightly over even money. The Aidan O’Brien entry was about 9-2.
The Racing Post story about the possible withdrawal of Zarkava because of soft going turned out to be a story with no substance at all. Red Rock Canyon shot to the front. Colm O’Donpghue opened up a big lead.
Zarkava lay several lengths off the leader and in the rear and was content to save ground. She had come out of the gate with alacrity. Soldier Of Fortune took over as Red Rock Canyon began to fade. Finding a seam on the inside, Zarkava was passing horses. With 200 metres to go, jockey Soumillon found a way to come to the outside.
When the geen light came on, the champion filly’s response was electrifying. The Zamindar filly raced past the front runners to win by two lengths. The 2400-metre race was run in 2. 28.8.
and Zarkava was the even money favourite.
Youmzain, second in the 2007 Arc, played the bridesmaid role one more time. Richard Hills was aboard Youmzain.
In the post-race conference. All the three main players were present.
I asked the Aga Khan how much sweeter Zarkava’s victory is when compared to Dalakhani’s win in 2003. “As I get older, I realize the significance of winning races like the Arc. Dalakhani and Zarkava are special horses. Zarkava is peerless. She does it all so easily.
Trainer Dupre told me that the Racing Post Story had no truth to it. “I live near Chantilly where there was a lot of rain. When I came to Longchamp, the weather had settled down. It was an easy decision to let Zarkava race.”
Dupre confirmed that BC is not an option.
He also said that Zarkava may not race as a four year-old.
Jockey Soumillon told me that he did not have a plan. “It was a messy race. I was pinched back. I was lucky.
When I found room, my filly did the rest.”
Soumillon was thankful for the Arlington cap I had given him.