The sound of silence is never a completely satisfactory epilogue to a great race, not least at a major event like the 100 (80: 1 at British bookmakers) on Sunday in Longchamp. I was lucky that the race developed like this, with little speed Most of the time and on desperate ground, which was an ideal fit for his German family tree.
But he could be seen coming from a different path, and unlike some rivals – perhaps Hurricane Lane in particular – Rene Piechulek was able to take a long, uninterrupted run towards the winner after turning home at an ideal spot, not too far from the lead. And after all, he was already a double winner at the highest level, even if in the German group one, which most of us – as it turned out, prematurely dismissed as unsuitable for an English classic.
From a British perspective, there was not even the consolation that an outrageous result for bookmakers – it was described as “the best arc result in bookmaker history” – would drive part of the (very) gross profit like any other Hopes of expanding the sport’s funding system to overseas races were thrown back on the very long grass earlier this year.
But there seems to be a realistic chance that both Adayar, the Derby and King George winner, and the Leger winner, Hurricane Lane, will continue to race as four-year-olds next season, presumably with another leaning in the Arc as the ultimate Target. Again, this would be very good news for France Galop after an afternoon that made it clear how difficult it will be to restore the Arc’s popularity in the post-Covid era, especially with overseas race-goers.
Longchamp was a very enjoyable place on Sunday afternoon – nowhere better for a fan of high profile racing after the early morning rain subsided and the sun at least tried to come out.
But that’s at least partly because there were so few race-goers. During the tour of the Jardin de l’Arc, the cheaper of the two main enclosures, about an hour before the big race, there were no queues in front of the food stalls, bars or betting windows and many empty tables for the lawns.
quick start Guide
Greg Woods Monday Tips
Lingfield Park 1.00 Miquelon (Nap) 1.30 Fozzie Bear 2.00 Nations Pride 2.30 Escobedo 3.00 Shandoz 3.30 Tarhib 4.00 Letmestopyouthere
Stratford-On-Avon 1.15 Howdyalikemenow 1.45 Wicked Willy 2.22 According to Togino 2.52 Galata Bridge 3.22 Too Friendly 3.52 Richie Valentine 4.25 Aucunrisque
Pontefract 1.39 Aunt Margaret 2.14 Aleezdancer 2.44 One Over Par 3.14 The Resdev Way 3.44 Captain Jameson (nb) 4.15 Tireless 4.45 Dark Spec 5.15 Coase
Wolverhampton 4.55 Elmira 5.30 Gustav Graves 6.00 Wizard D’Amour 6.30 Thunderoad 7.00 Khazaf 7.30 Invincible Soldier 8.00 Denzil’s Laugh 8.30 I’m watching you
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Longchamp was rightly criticized for its offer for race goers at the opening of its magnificent new grandstand in 2018, when the organizers greatly underestimated the crowd, which especially the traveling race goers like to drink and eat. There were long lines for everything and little or no choice for those when or when the spectators finally reached the front.
Sunday, however, was at the other extreme and, in its own way, an equally big problem for France Galop as it tries to make the Arc weekend to Longchamps 140 million [£123m] Redevelopment.
quick start Guide
Greg Woods Tuesday tips
12.30 Bezzas Lad 1.00 Homemade Andrea 1.30 Mystery Monarch 2.05 Bannergirl 2.40 Adace 3.15 Desert Miracle 3.50 Angels Roc 4.25 Intoxication
1.37 Kerensa 2.12 Trusty Scout 2.47 Arqoob (nap) 3.22 Hey Teacher 3.57 Four Adaay 4.32 Coco Bear 5.05 Some nightmares 5.40 Love dreams (nb)
1.55 Impulsive One 2.30 Elkstone 3.05 Island Nation 3.40 Achy Breaky Heart 4.15 Rock On Tommy 4.50 Salley Gardens 5.20 Blue Sans 5.50 Alazwar
4.58 Thaki 5.30 Night Of Luxury 6.00 Odisseo 6.30 Going Gone 7.00 Knight Of Kings 7.30 Reelemin 8.00 Espresso Freddo 8.30 Carpentier
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The number of entries in 2019, the last year before Covid, had actually increased from 35,000 to 42,000, but the race took place behind closed doors last year, attracted 15,000 on Sunday and will have to more than double next year just to come back its level of 2018. It must now feel more like 60 years than six, since 55,000 spectators who won the Golden Horn in the old Longchamp the Final Arc.
British and Irish viewers made up at least 50% of the Arc’s visitors just a few years ago, but three years is more than enough time for many Longchamp regulars to simply lose the habit of closing their annual trip to Paris on the first weekend in October do. The 101st edition will say a lot about the chance the Arc will ever rebuild its old army of traveling fans.