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2006 Arc de Triomphe Undercard Stakes

Jockey Frankie Dettori with his trophy for winning the Prix du Cadran Casino les Princes Barriere de Cannes (G1) aboard Sergeant Cecil

     Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
     Miscellaneous Arc day photos
     Pre-Arc Saturday stakes

Date: 10/01/2006

Although the big race of the day is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, it is just one of six Group 1 stakes on the card. The other races include the Prix de l'Opera at 1 1/4 miles for the fillies and mares, the Prix Du Cadran at 2 1/2 miles, the Prix de l'Abbaye at 5 furlongs, the Prix Jean-Luc Lagard Grand Criterium at 7 furlongs for the juvenile colts, and the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches at 1 mile for the juvenile fillies. All races on Arc day were contested over the "Grande Piste" turf course at Longchamp except the Prix de l'Abbaye which was run over the "Ligne Droite" or straight line course. You can find results chart for all the races with a link to the photo finish shot for each here.

Mandesha wins the Prix De l'Opera Casino Barriere d'Enghien-Les-Bains over Satwa Queen

The 250,000-euro Prix de l'Opera is the distaff equivalent of the Arc, featuring Europe's best older fillies and mares going 2000 meters. 6-5 second choice Mandesha settled in midpack behind the pace set by 8-1 Irridescence. 17-1 longshot Satwa Queen stalked the pace the whole way and took over the lead at the 1/4 pole, while 9-10 favorite Alexandrova angled to the outside and was set down for the drive. Mandesha encountered some traffic trouble mid-stretch but found running room just beyond the 1/16 pole and collared Satwa Queen late to get the victory in 2:00.90. It was a long 2 1/2 lengths back to favorite Alexandrova in third who was left with too much to do at the end.
Racing Post chart

Ever ebullient jockey Christophe Soumillon celebrates his win aboard Mandesha. Soumillon said, "At the entrance to the straight I took advantage of the other fillies who were retreating. She didn't have a lot of space which explains why she didn't have the same vim as the other days. But once she was able to get involved she ran like a great horse." Winning owner Princess Zahra Khan said, "The Arc is a dream which will carry on to next year." Winning breeder the Aga Khan said, "We opted for the Opera instead of the Arc when we decided she would stay in training and besides three-year-old fillies don't have a good record in the race."

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates as Sergeant Cecil wins the Prix du Cadran

The first race on the afternoon was the 250,000-euro Prix du Cadran, one of the longest flat races to be found anywhere at a grueling 4000 meters. 3.40-1 second choice Le Miracle led for the first 2 1/4 miles while 6-5 favorite Sergeant Cecil sat at the back of the pack under patient handling by jockey Frankie Dettori. Through the stretch, Le Miracle fought gamely but was passed by 5-1 Shamdala at the 3/16 pole. Sergeant Cecil had plenty left in the tank, as he passed the whole field through the length of the stretch, collaring Shamdala inside the 1/8 pole and holding off that challenger safe by 3/4 length in 4:20.90. It was 1/2 a length back to Le Miracle in third.
Racing Post chart

Sergeant Cecil returns after the race as Dettori continues to celebrate. Dettori said, "This is my 32nd group 1 in France. I am delighted to win it with a horse who has been beaten last year at handicap level. After a Group 3 and then two Group 2s, he deserved to win a Group 1. You will have seen that he was really switched off at the back, this is really important as it saved his energy. His fans must have been afraid at the entrance to the straight. I knew that he had an unbelievable acceleration in the last two furlongs at this distance and I always believed in him." Trainer Rod Millman added, "This is the best feeling I've ever had from racing. This is my first group 1 race and it's a sensational feeling to win at this great meeting. It's like winning at the Cheltenham Festival, only I've never done that so I wouldn't know! The horse was never struggling. Coming into the straight I thought he might not get there but he's so tough. Sergeant Cecil is seven years old but he's not had a hard life so hopefully he'll be racing for a while yet. Next year we'll try again for the Ascot Gold Cup."

Desert Lord wins the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Majestic Barriere (G1)

In contrast to the previous race, the 250,000-euro Prix de l'Abbaye is the shortest race on Arc weekend, a 1000 meter sprint on the "Ligne Droite" straightaway course which crosses the infield. 23-1 longshot Desert Lord was quickest out of the gate and led the whole way, setting a decent pace early and then quickening inside the 3/16 pole, holding off the late bid of 9-5 favorite Reverence to win by a neck. It was another neck back to 5-1 Moss Vale in third. The running time was 54.80.
Racing Post chart

Jockey Jamie Spencer smiles for the camera at the trophy presentation for the Prix de l'Abbaye. Winning trainer Kevin Ryan said, "He's a very very good horse who's very very fast. He has to have pace in his races. He is genuine but needs blinkers to help him concentrate. He'll be nominated for the Hong Kong Sprint and I think he has an ideal profile for that race as he's a fast ground horse."

Holy Roman Emperor is all alone at the finish of the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium)

The other two races on the Arc undercard featured the juvenile divisions. The 350,000-euro Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (formerly the Grand Criterium) is for 2-year-olds sprinting 1400 meters. 23-1 Fleeting Shadow led the field into the straight while being stalked by 6-1 Battle Paint but faded from contention at the 1/4 pole. Holy Roman Emperor, the 9-5 second choice, closed well from 6th early, passing the tiring pacesetters to win by 2 lengths over Battle Paint in 1:18.60. It was 3/4 length back to 9-1 Vital Equine in third. 7-5 favorite Visionario was at the back of the field early, and made his move much too late, finishing a disappointing sixth.
Racing Post chart

The stretch run of the Grand Criterium with Battle Paint out front and Holy Roman Emperor rallying on the outside. Winning trainer Aidan O'Brien said, "He's a very good horse who is getting better with every outing. Racing really brings out the best in him. He's tough, quickens and stays. Depending on how he comes out of this race, he could go for the Dewhurst Stakes. He missed an engagement in France (Morny) before the National Stakes (where he finished second) so his schedule was slightly out. I'm really looking forward to him next year. He certainly gets a mile and might get further if he has to." Jockey Kieren Fallon added, "He's a top miler in the making. When he took the lead, he sort of idled a bit but probably more because of the crowd's roar. He's a very genuine colt."

Finsceal Beo winning the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches Royal Barriere de Deauvil by five lengths

The Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches featured 2-year-old fillies going 1600 meters. 3-1 favorite Poltava led right from the start and quickened after 6 furlongs, but tired in the final furlong to finish a disappointing fourth. 19-1 shot Finsceal Beo, seventh at the top of the stretch, closed strongly through the stretch and took over the lead at the 1/8 pole, drawing off to win by 5 lengths in a stakes record time of 1:34.90. Just a neck separated 22-1 runner-up Darrfonah who rallied well from sixth, and 4-1 Legerete in third, who suffered traffic troubles while closing from 11th.
Racing Post chart

Finsceal Beo heads back to the barn in her winner's blanket after the race. Winning trainer Jim Bolger said, "She's got a lot of improvement to come. She missed a bit of the summer so then we were chasing her a bit in terms of a race. We ran in a handicap to give her a race and she finished second, then the Goffs Million where she had a bad run. That's it for the season. She'll probably go straight for the Guineas now. She's more precocious than Alexander Goldrun." Jockey Kevin Manning added, "When we got the gap on the rail she took her time to engage gear but mid-way along the straight she really accelerated well and reached the post without being challenged. She is improving well and getting tougher with every outing."

If you want to understand some of the differences between racing in North America and France, check here.

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