The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is one of the most prestigious contests in world racing and is a Group 1 event open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older.

It takes place at the famous Longchamp Racecourse in Paris and is run over one mile and four furlongs. For 2024, the race is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 6.

Popularly referred to as the ‘Arc,’ the race boasts one of the highest prize purses in horse racing.

As of recent years, the prize money for the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe stands at around €5 million, making it a highly lucrative event.

The Everest and Dubai World Cup offer higher prize money but lack the deep historical prestige of the Arc.

Origins

The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe was first run on October 3, 1920. The race was established by the Société d’Encouragement to celebrate the triumph of the Allied forces in World War I.

The name of the race is a tribute to the Arc de Triomphe, an iconic monument in Paris that symbolises victory and honour.

The inaugural race was won by Comrade, owned by Evremond de Saint-Alary and ridden by jockey Frank O’Neill.

The prize money for the first race was 150,000 francs, which is just over £130,000, a significant sum of money for the time, reflecting the importance placed on this new event.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the Arc quickly gained prestige and became a highlight of the European racing calendar.

Its status grew as it attracted the best horses from France and neighbouring countries. Even during World War II, the race continued to be held, albeit with some interruptions and relocations due to the conflict.

After World War II, the Arc resumed at Longchamp and continued to build its reputation. The post-war era saw an influx of international competitors, further enhancing the race’s status as a premier global event.

The introduction of significant sponsorships, such as the partnership with Qatar in 2008, boosted the prize money and global appeal.

Longchamp Racecourse

Longchamp Racecourse is one of the most iconic and historic venues in horse racing, known for its beautiful setting and challenging track layout.

The Arc is run over a distance of 2,400 meters, which is approximately 1.5 miles, and this middle-distance race is designed to test the endurance, speed, and tactical abilities of the horses and their jockeys.

The course includes both flat and undulating sections, incorporating a mix of uphill and downhill stretches, which test the stamina and balance of the horses.

It also includes several turns, including a prominent right-hand turn at the 1,000-meter mark, which can be crucial for positioning.

The final straight at Longchamp is approximately 500 meters long, offering a dramatic finish where races are often won or lost.

The layout of Longchamp Racecourse requires strategic planning from trainers and jockeys, and getting a good position early in the race is crucial, especially before the first turn.

Most Successful Horses, Jockeys, and Trainers

Horse – Enable

The most successful horse in the race’s history is Enable, who won the race in 2017 and 2018.

Owned by Khalid Abdullah and trained by John Gosden, Enable is one of the most celebrated horses in the history of the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.

She won her first Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in 2017 at Chantilly (the race was temporarily moved from Longchamp due to renovations) and was ridden by jockey Frankie Dettori.

Returning to Longchamp in 2018, she secured her second consecutive Arc victory, again with Dettori as her jockey.

While she is one of eight horses to have won the Arc twice, she actually ran in the race four times.

She attempted an unprecedented third consecutive Arc victory in 2019, but despite a valiant effort, she finished second, narrowly beaten by Waldgeist.

And if three attempts weren’t enough, how about a fourth? Because that’s what she did when heading back to Longchamp in October 2020.

She gave it her all but was well beaten into 6th place in what was her last ever horse race.

Jockey – Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori has become synonymous with success in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. His six wins in this prestigious race are a testament to his talent and longevity in the sport.

Lammtarra‘s win in 1995 was one of the highlights of Dettori’s early career. The victory was particularly emotional as it came shortly after the death of Lammtarra’s trainer, Alex Scott.

Dettori guided Sakhee to a dominant victory in 2001, winning by six lengths. This performance cemented Dettori’s reputation as a top jockey on the international stage.

Dettori’s third win came aboard the Godolphin-owned Marienbard in 2002, showcasing his ability to navigate the challenging Longchamp course and deliver under pressure.

He teamed up with trainer John Gosden in 2015 to win with Golden Horn, a horse known for its exceptional speed and stamina.

And, in 2017 Dettori and Enable’s first Arc victory was a masterclass in riding. Despite a wide draw, Dettori expertly positioned Enable to take the lead and win convincingly.

In 2018, Dettori and Enable made history by winning the Arc for the second consecutive year. This victory was particularly notable as it took place at Longchamp after renovations, adding to the race’s historical significance.

Trainer – André Fabre

Fabre holds the record for the most wins by a trainer, with eight victories.

A legendary figure in the world of horse racing, he is particularly known for his unparalleled success in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe and is widely regarded as one of the greatest trainers in the history of the sport.

Born on December 9, 1945, in Paris, France, Fabre initially pursued a career in law before switching to horse racing, where he started as a jump jockey, winning several major races, before transitioning to training.

Fabre began his training career in the late 1970s, and his early success with jumpers soon translated to flat racing, where he quickly established himself as a leading trainer.

His wins in the Arc include Trempolino (1987), Subotica (1992), Carnegie (1994), Peintre Celebre (1997), Sagamix (1998), Hurricane Run (2005), Rail Link (2006), and Waldgeist (2019).

Last 10 Winners

Year Winner Jockey Trainer
2023 Ace Impact Christophe Soumillon Jean-Claude Rouget
2022 Alpinista Luke Morris Sir Mark Prescott
2021 Torquator Tasso René Piechulek Marcel Weiss
2020 Sottsass Christian Demuro Jean-Claude Rouget
2019 Waldgeist Pierre-Charles Boudot André Fabre
2018 Enable Frankie Dettori John Gosden
2017 Enable Frankie Dettori John Gosden
2016 Found Ryan Moore Aidan O’Brien
2015 Golden Horn Frankie Dettori John Gosden
2014 Treve Thierry Jarnet Christianne Head

What Makes The Arc Stand Out?

The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe stands out for several reasons. The substantial prize money and the prestige of winning make it highly attractive.

It also serves as a genuine test for the world’s top thoroughbreds, bringing together the best horses and jockeys.

Additionally, the scenic Longchamp Racecourse in Paris adds to the event’s appeal, providing a beautiful backdrop for this prestigious race.