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Satwa Queen heads back to the barn after winning the 2007 Prix de l'Opera Casino Barriere d'Enghien les Bains (G1)
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. Arc weekend to the Europeans is analogous to the Breeders' Cup Championships in America, with multiple divisions settling their year-end championships over 2 days. The other races on Sunday include the Prix de l'Opera at about 1 1/4 miles for the fillies and mares, the Prix Du Cadran at about 2 1/2 miles, the Prix de l'Abbaye at about 5 furlongs, the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Grand Criterium at about 7 furlongs for the juvenile colts, and the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches at about 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 which bisects the infield. You can find results chart for all the races with a link to the photo finish shot for each here
Satwa Queen wins the Prix De l'Opera Casino Barriere d'Enghien-Les-Bains over Promising Queen and Legerete
Jockey Christophe Soumillon and Satwa Queen return after the race. Winning trainer Jean de Roualle said, "I've been preparing this for a year! Thierry (Thulliez) rode a great race and the ground was soft today so everything was perfect for her. This is a great filly, a real champion. She deserved that. I have won the French Oaks and the Vermeille before and this win today gives me the same feeling as seeing France beat the All-Blacks yesterday (in the Rugby World Cup) She may well go to Hong Kong if invited. I will discuss with her owner Steven Lamprell, but she is 5 now and so is likely to be retired at the end of the year. She has now won a Group 1 so what more can we ask for?"
Benbaun wins the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Majestic Barriere (G1)
Benbaun and jockey Pat Smullen in the walking ring after the race. Winning trainer Mark Wallace said, "I was worried about the ground being too soft, and hesitated to run, but in the end we decided it wasn't too bad. He'll go out into the field for a couple of weeks now and will then go to Hong Kong, if he's invited, which I think he will be. Early next year he will go to Australia and I will try and win the Global Sprint Challenge with him. He has improved a lot this year, thanks to our vet who has taken great care of him. He has had some niggly problems in the past like a sore knee but nothing serious. He burst a blood vessel at Royal Ascot and I was hoping he wouldn't do the same today. I've only been training for 4 1/2 years and this is my first Group 1 win so it's a dream come true. This horse cost only 6,000 guineas as a yearling and I think he's repaid that now!"
Rio del la Plata wins the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium)
Rio de la Plata returns after the race. His trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, "He is a very good horse and I gave him too much to do in his last race but we were beaten by a very good horse. Today Rio De La Plata ran as we expected him to do." Racing manager Simon Crisford of owner Godolphin Racing added, "That was really good, He's a top horse. We were worried about the ground but the horse was so well we decided to come anyway. This race is such an important race we haven't really thought about a future objective. He's in the Dewhurst Stakes but that's only 2 weeks away. However it remains a possibility as he does get over his races so well. He will start over a mile in the Guineas next year and he has the right profile to become a top horse over 1 1/4 miles. I am not sure if he will stay 1 1/2 miles although his Argentinian dam's side does suggest he might."
Zarkava winning the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches Royal Barriere de Deauvil
On the left is Zarkava in the air while jumping the shadow and on the right is her rather painful looking landing. Hopefully she was not injured while doing this. Her owner-breeder His Highness the Aga Khan said, "She could be very good. We have always held her in very high esteem. It is not a normal process but the trainer felt she would be better going straight to a Group 1 from a maiden because she is quite a stressed filly. Petite Etoile bred only one daughter, Zahra, and it's amazing to see through one daughter of a great race mare that she can continue to produce great race horses." Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre added, "We decided to supplement her in this race after her last serious piece of work over Chantilly racecourse, which was sumptuous. I was a bit worried 2f out though as she could not find the gap but her class made it look easy to overcome this."
Le Miracle wins the Prix du Cadran Casino-Theatre Barriere de Toulouse (G1) over Varevees
The trophy presentation for the Prix du Cadran with jockey Dominque Bouef dropping the lid to his cup. Winning trainer Werner Baltromei said, "This is my first Group 1 race and the horse was working so well in the lead up. We didn't think we could possibly beat Yeats. Dominique (Boeuf) rode a beautiful race and did everything right. He will now go for the Prix Royal-Oak and then have a similar program next year."
If you want to understand some of the differences between racing in North America and France, check here.
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