The French did not enjoy Nazi Germany taking over Paris in June 1940 and you can be certain they didn’t take too kindly to a German horse winning their most important race — the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe — in the French capital on Sunday.
A horse named Torquator Tasso made the road trip from Mulheim to Paris, and bookmakers are delighted he did as they pocketed thousands of euros and pounds bet on the grade 1 event by racing fans around the world.
Ridden by German jockey Rene Piechulek and trained by Marcel Weiss, Torquator Tasso, the 2020 German horse of the year, was sent off at 80-1.
“As results go, we couldn’t have asked for better. We didn’t see a penny for the winner. There was non-stop support for the front four in the betting all day,” said Ladbrokes representative Nicola McGeady.
This was the third success by a German horse in the Arc after the victories by Star Appeal (1975) and Danedream (2011).
Trainer Weiss was understandably over the moon with his horse’s win and said: “He is a very strong horse and Rene is a very cool jockey.
“We planned to chase the leading horses and launch our challenge wide into the straight. It’s a long straight and we knew he would finish strongly,” Weiss told reporters.
“I had 20 years as an assistant before taking the reins two years ago and I’m so pleased the owner turned down an offer for the horse. We could go to Japan but we’ll see how he is in the next week or so,” added Weiss, who is in 15th place in the German trainers log.
Piechulek needed that coolness in the final 100m of the mile-and-a-half race as two fancied contenders, Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane, laid down their challenges. The German raider got home by three-parts of a length from heavily backed Tarnawa, with St Leger winner Hurricane Lane finishing third.
“I honestly believe if we didn’t have all the rain last night that she'd have won,” said Tarnawa’s trainer, Dermot Weld, who was hoping to win his first Arc.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of third-placed Hurricane Lane (5-2 favourite) and front-running fourth Adayar (3-1), said he was proud of his charges’ efforts.
“I genuinely think both could be better next year. We knew there wasn’t going to be a strong pace in these conditions. Nobody wanted to go forward and William [Buick] said unfortunately Adayar jumped well and he had to pop him on the front end as he never really had any cover,” said Appleby.
The UK trainer ruled out a trip to Del Mar for the Breeders Cup, but that important meeting near San Diego remains a possibility for Tarnawa, who could contest the Breeders Cup Turf or the Breeders Cup Fillies & Mares.
Aidan O’Brien’s Epsom Oaks winner was never a serious factor, finishing sixth just in front of the well-supported Japanese horse Chrono Genesis. In previous years, Japanese horses have spent two or three months in France preparing for the Arc and one wonders whether connections made the wrong call in flying the horse from Japan a week before the race.
So Torquator Tasso (80-1) — a horse not mentioned by any pundit — now has his name in the history books as the third-highest odds winner of the Arc. The previous biggest-priced winner was another German horse, Star Appeal, at 119-1 in 1975, and Topyo won the 1967 race at 82-1.
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