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Owner Michael Tabor leads Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Dylan Thomas while jockey Kieren Fallon celebrates.

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2007 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Date: 10/07/2007

The unofficial middle-distance championship of Europe is decided on the first Sunday in October in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1), a 2400 meter (about 1 1/2 mile) trip around one turn of the "Grande Piste" turf course at Longchamp in Paris for a purse of 2 million euros (about $2.83 million U.S.). Sunny skies helped dry the course after rain earlier in the week, with the course upgraded to "good to soft" after Saturday's card was run under soft conditions.

In the stretch with Dylan Thomas leading over Soldier of Fortune, Youmzain, and Sagara.
A field of twelve older horses (including 1 filly) went to post, with Epsom Derby winner Authorized sent off as the 11-10 favorite coming off of a win in the Juddmonte International at York in August. In to challenge him were the four-horse entry of trainer Aidan O'Brien, sent off as the 5-2 second choice, led by King George and Queen Elizabeth II winner Dylan Thomas, coming off a win in the Irish Champion at Leopardstown last time out. The lone distaffer, 4-year-old Mandesha, was sent off at 6-1 off a runner-up finish in the Prix Foy against males over the same course and distance as the Arc.

Dragon Dancer was immediately sent to the front by jockey Daryll Holland, but after just a furlong O'Brien trainee Song of Hiawatha took over the lead as the obvious "rabbit", leading the field most of the way around the course. Jockey Frankie Dettori settled Authorized at the back of the field early, while 20-1 Saddex stalked the

The finish of the 2007 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
pace in second. At the top of the stretch, Song of Hiawatha tired badly from his fast early pace as O'Brien stablemate Soldier of Fortune took over the lead at the 1/4 pole. Dylan Thomas, who was as far back as ninth entering the lane, found room between horses and was gaining with every stride under jockey Kieren Fallon, allowed to ride in France but serving a suspension in England. At the 3/16 pole he angled in towards the rail in front of 6-1 Zambezi Sun, took over the lead at the 1/8 pole, and was all out to hold off 80-1 longshot Youmzain in the final strides to get the win by a head in a time of 2:28.50. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 32-1 Sagara in third. Favorite Authorized failed to fire when asked by Dettori in the stretch, and he finished a disappointing tenth.

Immediately after the horses crossed the finish, the inquiry sign came up. The stewards examined the stretch run and interviewed the jockeys, investigating whether Dylan Thomas interfered with eventual 8th place finisher Zambezi Sun. After a 35 minute delay, the stewards allowed the result to stand.

Results chart with a link to the photo finish shot from Paris Turf
Results chart from Sporting Life

Dylan Thomas is led back after the winning the Arc de Triomphe. His trainer Aidan O'Brien said, "He is one of the really good sons of Danehill and as Danehill is no longer with us Dylan Thomas could well be retired to stud at the end of the year. Kieren (Fallon) is an iron man to be able to ride like that with all the pressure he has on his shoulders."

Dylan Thomas parades for the fans after the race. His jockey Kieren Fallon said, "I would like to thank Stephane Pasquier (aboard Zambezi Sun) for giving a truthful account of what happened during the enquiry. We both knew that Dylan Thomas was the best horse today. I accept responsibility for what happened in the Grand Prix de Paris (Fallon fell following an incident involving Pasquier aboard Zambezi Sun). There wasn't a very strong pace and I felt my horse was going very well so I decided to make a move on the outside. I could feel Youmzain coming but when my horse got there he was doing nothing. If he'd gone round again they wouldn't have got by him. He's tough and genuine. He's done it all now. It's just a great day. I have always thought he was very good but the press have not made much of him. He is not easy to ride but I know him well."

The trophy presentation with trainer Aidan O'Brien on the right. O'Brien said, "We felt coming into the race that this horse was a heavyweight and that's what he showed today. He's an absolutely marvelous horse and he was given a fantastic ride. He's better on firm ground. The Breeders' Cup Turf is his next target."

Dylan Thomas in the paddock before the race. His owner Michael Tabor said, "The plan before this race was to go to the Breeders' Cup but that is now on hold. We will have to see how he comes out of this race. He has been on the go all season but if he is well I imagine that Aidan will want to run."

Second place finisher Youmzain in the post parade. His trainer Mick Channon said, "We knew he was a good horse and he has to be ridden like he was today. Last time (4th in Grosser Preis von Baden) his jockey came back and said he rode him wrong. Obviously we want to win but I am delighted with him. I hope very much that he'll stay in training next year."

His jockey Richard Hughes said, "We were cruising and then he changed legs at a crucial moment. The colt ran a hell of a race."

Third place finisher Sagara in the post parade. Alan Cooper, racing manager of the owners the Niarchos family said, "That was very good and we weren't beaten far. This horse has been progressing all year and (trainer) Jonathan Pease and (jockey) Thierry Gillet have done a superb job with him. He's a very honest and consistent horse. We will have to discuss with the owners but I think he will stay in training next year so I am not sure that he will run again this season."

Trainer Jonathan Pease said, "He ran really well and this proves that he is the best three-year-old over this distance in Europe."

Beaten favorite and 10th place finisher Authorized returns after the race. His jockey Frankie Dettori said, "Right from the start I wasn't getting a good feeling from him. He had trouble negotiating the turn and has shown that he is not at ease on a right handed track. I knew it was over 4 furlongs from home. I'm a bit disappointed but my job is to be a jockey. I win some races and I lose others. Today we didn't see the real Authorized."

Co-owner Saleh Al Homezi said, "He stayed further back than he should have done. It's disappointing, but that's racing. I think he's finished now but he gave me the best day of my life at Epsom and I'll never forget it. He won the Derby and the Juddmonte, and he was a real champion." Authorized, already sold for stallion duties, retired after the race and will stand at Darley in England next year.

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