Cristian Demuro celebrates as he and Ace Impact score in the Arc (JTW Equine Images)
By Michaela Moricova
The French racecourse ParisLongchamp saw the most exciting meeting of the year – the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend. Winners of most of the G1 races earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup races, including the winner of the richest race in Europe; however, three-year-old ACE IMPACT doesn’t look like a probable contender for the BC Turf. Still, some of the successful runners could show up in the US, for example, a brilliant winner of a G1 for two-year-old fillies, OPERA SINGER.
Opera Singer Justified Herself as Exceptional
Although we’re very excited to write about Opera Singer, let’s look at the card chronologically. Two-year-olds had two G1 races on Sunday’s program, with the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over seven furlongs being the first of them. In the field of ten juniors, ROSALLION caught off guard preferred participants as his finish from the rear was brilliant. Under Sean Levey, the bay colt traveled in the last place; however, he showcased such a turn of foot in the final straight that he left all his rivals behind. The Richard Hannon-trained colt triumphed by a length in 1m 18.23s, being the first G1 winner for his sire Blue Point.
Rosallion made amends for his lackluster run in the G2 Champagne Stakes, and even though he looks in good form, Richard Hannon thinks more of waiting for the next year instead of going to the US. However, he’ll make the decision later. Aidan O’Brien is inclined to send both second Unquestionable and fourth Henry James to the Juvenile Turf.
By winning the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac over a mile, OPERA SINGER earned a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Aidan O’Brien expressed interest in going to America not only because the chestnut filly is brilliant but also because she’s by Justify, and it shows. With four starts under her belt, Opera Singer was sent off as a favorite for the Sunday race, and despite the fact she was only a G3 winner, she demolished the field in Longchamp. Ryan Moore let her gallop as she wanted throughout, and once he urged her to draw clear from her rivals, she did so effortlessly.
Opera Singer was just a joy to watch as she scored by five lengths in 1m 36.40s.
The Arc for Ace Impact
The outstanding three-year-old ACE IMPACT has accomplished everything he could’ve been asked to. The son of Cracksman won the French Derby, then succeeded in the Arc trial and remained unbeaten also in the pinnacle of the season. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe saw Ace Impact compete against older horses and, over the distance of a mile and a half for the first time, still, the exceptionally talented colt handled all the challenges to win comfortably by one and 3/4 of a length. As usual, Cristian Demuro kept him at the rear of the field to unleash his mount in the final stretch. Impressively, Ace Impact ran down all his rivals and won in 2m 25.50s.
Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget probably won’t ponder traveling to the US as Ace Impact has had a demanding season, but if he changes his mind, the option of BC Turf is here.
Westover was the best of the horses from the British Isles, finishing strongly behind the winner and providing he, indeed, has matured throughout the year. For Roger Varian, he ran a great race while keeping Onesto in third just by a short head. Japanese mare Through Seven Seas finished fourth, with the Aidan O’Brien St Leger winner, Continuous, taking fifth place. Both Onesto and Westover are expected to head to the Breeders’ Cup.
Blue Rose Cen is Back at it Again
The impressive G1 Prix de Diane didn’t meet the expectations in the following starts, but in the Prix de l’Opera, over a mile and a quarter, BLUE ROSE CEN entirely made up for the blunders. The daughter of Churchill showed some speed initially, but Aurelien Lemaitre succeeded in hiding the three-year-old filly behind other horses. In the final stretch, he moved Blue Rose Cen to the middle of the track, where she willingly fought with her rivals, especially Jackie Oh. The duo battled until the end, but the favorite always had the upper hand, scoring by a neck in 2m 3.71s.
For Blue Rose Cen, it was her fourth G1 victory. Christopher Head acknowledged he could go to the BC Filly & Mare Turf with the filly, but he’s not decided about the journey yet.
Princess? No, the Queen of Abbay!
The last race of the card that offered a Breeders’ Cup invitation was the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye. The five-furlongs-long race attracted a hugely popular mare HIGHFIELD PRINCESS, who was about to achieve her fourth G1 victory, which she did tremendously. The John Quinn trained six-year-old mare has been collecting places at the highest level and won the G2 King George Stakes, but was waiting for this year’s big one. Although she showed up in Longchamp for the first time, she didn’t disappoint in the slightest as under Jason Hart, she quickened up in the closing stages and got to the front right in time.
Highfield Princess won by a length in 55.07s, rightfully being called the Queen of Abbaye after such a performance when she had an unfortunate draw. Her trainer described the effort beautifully:
“She’s produced once again, and as you saw it was a remarkably tough performance. She was on the wing, at halfway she was off the bridle and you think ‘ooh’ but she tucked in and toughed it out. Typical her. At the line she was on top well.
“It shows how tough she is, she’s wonderful really.”
The popular mare earned a spot in the BC Turf Sprint, and she may venture abroad again as, in 2022, she finished fourth in Keeneland. Six-year-old Kinross might also go to the US, even though his run in the G1 Prix de la Foret didn’t result in a win. Still, his second place was a gallant one and last year, he was a brilliant third in 2022 in the BC Mile.
The last G1 of the Arc meeting meant a second place for Kinross as three-year-old filly KELINA held him off under Maxime Guyon.
Trueshan is a True Star
On Saturday, a couple of G1 headlined the card; however, it’s improbable the winners will travel to the US. Especially TRUESHAN, who is an ultra-stayer trained by Alan King. Under Hollie Doyle, he confirmed to be back to his best as he destroyed the G1 Prix du Cadran field over two miles and four furlongs. The seven-year-old bay made all and stayed strong, winning by four lengths in 4m 19.52s. Four-year-old SEA SILK ROAD scored the G1 Prix Royallieu for three-year-old and older fillies and mares. The William Haggas-trained chestnut handled the distance of a mile and six furlongs beautifully, securing her premiere G1 victory by three lengths in 2m 57.06s. Sea Silk Road was piloted by Aurelien Lemaitre.