Super filly Zarkava flew the flag for her sex last weekend in Paris when she became the first filly in 15 years to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, one of the world’s most prestigious races.
With the French 1,000 Guineas, French Oaks and Prix de Vermeille all under her belt already this season, the Aga Khan’s filly maintained her unbeaten record in fine style when adding the world’s richest turf race to her list of achievements on Sunday (5 October) at Longchamp.
Despite starting the 13-8 favourite, the odds seemed against her. The filly was drawn in stall one, an unfavourable berth that no Arc winner has raced from since 1964, and the last time a filly won the 1m 4f contest was Urban Sea in 1993.
Ridden by the supremely confident Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon, the race was almost over before it begun for Zarkava, after a bump at the start nearly unseated Christophe.
But the three-year-old soon settled and the pair travelled at the rear for most of the race before storming through in the final furlong to win by 2 lengths.
Her French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre described the race as “perfect”. But there are currently discussions about whether the filly will go on to race next year as a four-year-old, or whether after her seven straight wins she will be retired.
Runner up — for the second year in a row — was Britain’s Youmzain, trained by Mick Channon and ridden by Richard Hills. Youmzain did not have the best luck in running, but it is doubtful that he would ever have got to the impressive winner.
Mick is currently recovering from car crash on the M1 in August that killed his friend and bloodstock agent Tim Corby.
It’s Gino and Soldier Of Fortune were declared joint-third in a dead heat.
But Aidan O’Brien’s hotly tipped Duke Of Marmalade never looked like winning his 6th Group One of the season. Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, he never really got into the race and finished in 7th place.