In the biggest shock of the flat racing season and perhaps the biggest upset in the history of Longchamp, 80/1 outsider Torquator Tasso took home top spot to the amazement of all those in attendance. Despite spectators being allowed into the French capital, you would think that the most severe coronavirus restrictions were being implemented, such was the deafening silence that greeted Rene Piechulek as he finished his first Arc weekend with the top prize.
Very few, if any betting sites gave the Marcel Weiss-trained horse a chance heading into this one and given the number of outsiders that have picked up victories already this flat racing season, it is certainly surprising. For all the riches enjoyed in this coveted European race, there was always a chance of some more magic being produced, with Torquator Tasso joining a list of illustrious champions. With that in mind, we thought it would be right to run through a few of them in ascending order.
2018 – Enable
The first race to return to Longchamp after two years at Chantilly while the track was closed for renovations, 2018 saw Enable reign supreme for the second time in consecutive years, trained by John Gosden. At this point in time, jockey Frankie Dettori was also at his best and with the horse’s powerful running and strong starts to races, it was clearly a match made in heaven. All the betting tips had the favourites to dominate, and they did exactly that regardless of the venue.
Sea Of Class was the only real competition for Dettori, but after fading midway through the race there was simply too much to do and far too much ground to make up as he pressed the eventual winner in the closing stages.
2019 – Waldgeist
While Enable looked for a trio of victories, he was foiled by the magnificent Waldgeist and left to settle for second place. The André Fabre-trained horse clearly didn’t read the script heading into this one, having tasted defeat three times in the past and not happy settling with a low finish again. From an underwhelming fourth place finish to Longchamp immortality, Waldgeist lived up to his trainer’s high standards: “I always hope for the very best when I run my horses in the Arc, which of course is a very special race for me. With Waldgeist, he carried by highest expectation.” He said.
“I knew the ground would be very testing, but I look back to his days as a two-year-old, when he won in the heavy, and that made me more confident that he would finish his race off well.
2020 – Sottsass
Although you could argue that this race was overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic and the race behind closed doors felt less significant due to a lack of spectators, Jean-Claude Rouget could not care less as Sottsass took home top prize in the 2020 race. This was the first Arc weekend for the five-year-old and with a plethora of other talented jockeys providing stiff competition, it was Cristian Demuro who guided the horse to victory.
The wet ground made it a closely contested race, but eventually Sottsass managed to pull ahead, pipping Persian King while Enable was left to finish sixth and was retired shortly after.