No Stopping Cracksman's Ace Impact In The Arc

Ace ImpactScoop Dyga


   Bringing the house down at ParisLongchamp in the panama hat G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, Gousserie Racing and Ecuries Serge Stempniak's brilliant Ace Impact (Ire) (Cracksman {GB}–Absolutly Me {Fr}, by Anabaa Blue {GB}) ripped up the rule book in scintillating style to become the first colt to win the revised 10 1/2-furlong G1 Prix du Jockey Club and this prize in the same season.

“C'est enorme,” uttered an emotional Jean-Claude Rouget after watching his unbeaten star rattle home past most of his rivals under a supremely confident Cristian Demuro in the home straight and dominate the final furlong. At the line, there was 1 3/4 lengths between the 19-10 favourite and Westover (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who held on by a short head from Onesto (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) to make Cracksman's sire the King of the Arc as he was 12 months ago.

Here was a genuine throwback Arc winner, a proper one who was also remarkably the first French-trained 3-year-old colt to win since Rail Link (GB) in 2006. The previous 15 years before that had witnessed the crack colts Suave Dancer, Helissio (Fr), Peintre Celebre, Montjeu (Ire) and Dalakhani (Ire) completing the 12-furlong Jockey-Club-Arc double and Ace Impact slots right into that company. His Chantilly performance was sensational, running the final three furlongs in an outstanding :34.01 and this was comparable, flying home in :33.06.

“We always say they are the best when they win, but I think what sets him apart is his strong acceleration. It is something I have never seen,” his trainer said. “He's an extraordinary horse, a crack. He's left us speechless. He had a very clean race and his stride-devouring action did the rest. The big winner today is a man that dares, Kamel Chehboub, who bought half of Ace Impact even though he doesn't have a Classic pedigree, as well as Horizon Dore so he now has the two best 3-year-old colts in France! I don't know if he will go straight to the stud or run next year. It will be decided between the two owners and me, but I don't know yet.”

Masterfully prepared by Rouget, who avoided the temptation to go the Almanzor route via the Irish Champion and who instead fed the flame with more straightforward task-setting in the G2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano, Ace Impact has endured a steep climb to the summit having only begun his career at Cagnes-sur-Mer in January while these rivals were in steady winter work.

His Arc tour de force was completed over 10 seconds faster than that of Alpinista (GB) 12 months ago, which truly demonstrates the extremities of ground we are dealing with from 2022 to 2023. The only complaint can be that this renewal was missing Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}), who would have both relished the freak conditions which led to the fastest Longchamp Arc time since Danedream (Ger) (Lomitas {GB}) in 2011 and fourth-fastest in history behind her, Peintre Celebre and Bago (Fr) (Nashwan).

This was a no-drama, no-excuses renewal that was run at a fair if not exacting pace, with the German colt Mr Hollywood (Ire) (Iquitos {Ger}) carving it out in front of the free-running Bay Bridge (GB) (New Bay {GB}) before Hukum (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) emerged to keep the leader honest. Demuro was in no hurry, with last year's G1 Grand Prix de Paris hero Onesto tracking his every move at the tail of the field with the Japanese mare Through Seven Seas (Jpn) (Dream Journey {Jpn}) also with the anchor firmly down.

Straightening for home, the runners panned out perfectly across the track so that there was ample room for all the main contenders and Westover was the first to strike as he mastered his King George conqueror at the 300-metre marker. For his connections, any excitement was all too brief as the orange silks emerged a few lanes out wide and within a few split seconds this GI Breeders' Cup Turf qualifier was decided.

This represented a welcome return to form for TDN Rising Star Onesto following his Irish Champion S. flop, shadowing Ace Impact all the way to the line to record an identical closing three-furlong time as the winner. The Fabrice Chappet-trained 4-year-old also closed out the Arc with the fastest final-furlong split of all the runners, finishing with a rapid :10.99. Through Seven Seas and the G1 St Leger hero Continuous (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) closed together to the line, emerging from the pack almost in unison as a celebration of their Japanese heritage.

Ralph Beckett said of Westover, who was second-best yet again as he had been in the Dubai Sheema Classic, Coronation Cup and King George. “What a run, I'm delighted. At the top of the straight I thought we were in business, but there was just one better. He's gone and done it again, which is terrific for everyone. I'm so proud of him. I always fancied the Breeders' Cup Turf for him, because he's a horse who enjoys his time away, as we saw in Dubai. The Breeders' Cup Turf is shaping up to be the best ever isn't it? But that's life and I think we will probably go.”

Fabrice Chappet's Onesto is Breeders' Cup Turf-bound also. “I did say that his last outing in the Irish Champion S. didn't count,” he said. “Apart from that, Onesto has always run up to his best without necessarily having a happy time of it on each occasion. Today, he found himself a long way back but he had a good race in the slipstream of the winner. Unfortunately, older horses who carry three kilos more than the three-year-olds don't go as fast. It would be logical to head to the Breeders' Cup.”

Tomohito Ozeki said of Through Seven Seas, “It was a sprint in the straight, but I am pleased at the way she finished. We don't know whether she will run again. It depends how she is because the Arc is such a great challenge for a horse.”

Aidan O'Brien also suggested that the early pace was not in Continuous's favour. “We're very happy. We made the decision to take our time and let him relax,” he said. “They sprinted the last two furlongs, but he wasn't finished and ran all the way to the line. He looks like he wants a strongly run mile-and-a-half so obviously we can look at Japan, Hong Kong, America and Dubai. He's a very legitimate horse and a ready-made 4-year-old. He loves travelling and the best is yet to come.”


Pedigree Notes

Born in Ireland but bred in France by Waltraut Spanner, Ace Impact who hails from the first crop of Cracksman was purchased for €75,000 at the Arqana Deauville August Sale where he was consigned by Elise Drouet's Domaine de l'Etang. The dam Absolutly Me, who was twice listed-placed, has also produced the useful Alessandro (Fr) (Australia {GB}) and Apollo Flight (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) who also achieved placings at that level.

The third dam Barakat (GB) (Bustino {GB}), a half-sister to the four-times Group 1-winning Ibn Bey (GB) (Mill Reef) and the G1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine Roseate Tern (GB) (Blakeney {GB}), was responsible for the stakes winner and GII Santa Barbara runner-up Mabadi (Sahm) who in turn produced the dual listed winner and dual group-placed Salai (Fr) (Myboycharlie {Ire}) to her credit. This is also the family of the talented Red Camellia (GB) (Polar Falcon) who was third in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches before producing the G1 Fillies' Mile heroine Red Bloom (GB) (Selkirk). Absolutly Me's unraced 2-year-old colt by Gleneagles (Ire) is named Arrow Eagle (Fr). He is in training with Jean-Claude Rouget under the colours of Waltraut Spanner.


Sunday, ParisLongchamp, France
QATAR PRIX DE L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE-G1, €5,000,000, ParisLongchamp, 10-1, 3yo/up, c/f, 12fT, 2:25.50, g/s.
1–ACE IMPACT (IRE), 125, c, 3, by Cracksman (GB)
1st Dam: Absolutly Me (Fr) (SP-Fr & Ger), by Anabaa Blue (GB)
2nd Dam: Tadawul, by Diesis (GB)
3rd Dam: Barakat (GB), by Bustino (GB)
(€75,000 Ylg '21 ARQAUG). O-Ecuries Serge Stempniak & Gousserie Racing; B-Mme Waltraut Spanner (IRE); T-Jean-Claude Rouget; J-Cristian Demuro. €2,857,000. Lifetime Record: 6-6-0-0, €3,996,100. *1/2 to Apollo Flight (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), MSP-Fr, $139,492; and Alessandro (Fr) (Australia {GB}), SP-Fr, $111,837. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Westover (GB), 131, c, 4, Frankel (GB)–Mirabilis, by Lear Fan. O-Juddmonte; B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd (GB); T-Ralph Beckett. €1,143,000.
3–Onesto (Ire), 131, c, 4, Frankel (GB)–Onshore (GB), by Sea The Stars (Ire). (185,000gns Ylg '20 TATOCT; $535,000 2yo '21 OBSAPR). O-Gerard Augustin-Normand, Jean-Etienne Dubois, Ecurie Hunter Valley, Haras d'Etreham, Ecurie Billon, Ecurie Elag, Fabrice Chappet & Hubert Guy; B-Diamond Creek Farm (IRE); T-Fabrice Chappet. €571,500.
Margins: 1 3/4, SHD, 1 1/4. Odds: 1.90, 6.40, 55.00.
Also Ran: Through Seven Seas (Jpn), Continuous (Jpn), Bay Bridge (GB), Sisfahan (Fr), Feed The Flame (GB), Hukum (Ire), Simca Mille (Ire), Fantastic Moon (Ger), Place Du Carrousel (Ire), Free Wind (Ire), Haya Zark (Fr), Mr Hollywood (Ire). Video, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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