Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trends: The ingredients for success at Longchamp
Established in 1920, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is one of Europe’s most prestigious races.
Known as simply the ‘Arc’, it is run on the first Sunday of October at the Longchamp racecourse in Paris and is open to all horses aged three and older.
Ahead of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 2023, we have studied every one of the 483 participants from the past 30 renewals to pick out some Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trends.
How do Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe favourites perform?
With an average of 16 horses taking to the start line each year, the Arc can be a difficult race to predict.
That said, 22 of the past 30 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winners have been priced in single digits before the race, including last year’s favourite Alpinista who rode to victory having started at just over 3/1.
The rate of finishing on the podium drops in line with pre-race odds, with almost 39 per cent of competitors priced at 7/1 or shorter having gone on to finish in the top three, compared with 25 per cent of horses rated between 15/2 and 15/1, and as little as 4 per cent of those with odds in excess of 66/1.
However, there has been a recent change in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trends, with an increasing number of unlikely winners in recent years.
The greatest of these upsets was Torquator Tasso’s 2021 triumph at 72/1 – the longest Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe odds of any victor in the last 30 years.
The German thoroughbred’s surprise win was the seventh by a horse priced outside the top three in the betting since 2010, versus just four comparable victories between 1993 and 2009.
Who has the best record?
This year is set to be the last time that the Arc’s greatest jockey rides in Longchamp. Six-time winner Frankie Dettori is retiring at the end of 2023, bringing the curtain down on an incredible 35-year career.
Including all podium finishes, nobody can match Dettori’s record of 11 top threes in 28 starts since 1993, with French duo Christophe Soumillon (seven out of 20) and Olivier Peslier (eight from 27) next on the list among active riders.
Andre Fabre is Dettori’s equivalent among Arc trainers, with a record eight victories to his name – six of which have come in the last 30 years.
Fabre is just ahead of John Gosden for podium percentage in that period, with the Newmarket trainer having seen five of his 15 entries finish first, second or third. Three of those came via the legendary Enable, who Dettori rode to back-to-back victories and a runner-up finish in successive years from 2017 to 2019.
Which country trains the most Arc winners?
Fabre has been a large part of France’s proud history in its marquee race. More than half of Arc winners have been trained domestically, including 16 of the past 30.
However, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trends suggest French dominance is on the wane, with just two of the last eight victors – Waldgeist (2019) and Sottsass (2020) – having come from a local stable, compared with 14 in 22 before that.
British trainers – led by Gosden – have led their French counterparts in recent years, with four winners since 2015. This includes the 2022 champion Alpinista, who was trained by Sir Mark Prescott at Heath House Stables in Newmarket until retiring last November.
How much does experience matter?
As an all-aged race, the Arc gives competitors the opportunity to build on early success or learn from initial mistakes.
Recent results suggest that experience is becoming increasingly valuable at Longchamp, with 29 per cent of returning horses finishing on the podium in the previous decade – up from just 10 per cent between 1993 and 2002.
The second of Treve’s back-to-back wins in 2014 marked the first time in our sample of a winner having run the race before. Remarkably, this has been repeated four times in eight years since, with Found (2016), Enable (2018), Waldgeist (2019) and Sottsass (2020) topping the rostrum having also completed the course 12 months earlier.
Meanwhile, the rate of first-time success has declined over the same period. New entrants were twice as likely to finish on the podium as their returning counterparts between 1993 and 2002 (20 per cent), but their top-three percentage was barely half of their rivals’ between 2013 and 2022 (15 per cent).