Shock In The Arc As Torquator Tasso Prevails

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Torquator Tasso | Scoop Dyga

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It may have been the 100th edition, but ParisLongchamp's G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe proved again on Sunday it is no respecter of established tradition by throwing a curveball in the shape of the 72-1 winner Torquator Tasso (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}). Despite coming here off a victory in the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden, there was always going to be extra inflation in his starting price as a German raider from the small stable of Marcel Weiss with a relative unknown on his back in Rene Piechulek and he escaped much attention in the build-up as a result. What Gestut Auenquelle's bay did have in his make-up was the ability to sluice through the holding, deep surface prevalent after the abundant rainfall and that proved key as he overcame fellow closers Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal) and Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) in the final 50 metres to score by 3/4 of a length in this “Win and You're In” for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar in November. Tarnawa shaded the photo for second by a short head from Hurricane Lane, with the long-time leader Adayar (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) fading to fourth, three lengths away.

“It's very, very difficult to understand I've won this race,” Weiss said in the aftermath of one of the race's great shocks. “He has produced some very good performances and is a dual group 1 winner and even though I thought this was the strongest Arc of the last few years, we thought he deserved to run. We would have considered it a success if he had finished third, fourth, fifth or sixth. That he has won is a bonus. You can't really go higher than the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe–I've dreamt about it and now I've won it. It's absolutely unreal.”

Winding back to July 2020, Torquator Tasso sprung to prominence when coming off 3/4 of a length worse in a tussle with fellow son of Adlerflug In Swoop (Ire) as the runner-up in Hamburg's G1 Deutsches Derby. While that winner went on to run second in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris and get within a neck of taking this ultimate prize, Torquator Tasso stayed in Germany to finish third to Barney Roy (GB) (Excelebration {Ire}) in the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden, win the G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten and finish runner-up in Munich's G1 Grosser Preis Von Bayern. Only sixth on his return in the G2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Wirtschaft over 11 furlongs at Mulheim June 6, he rebounded with a 4 1/2-length success in the G2 Grosser Hansa-Preis der Baum Unternehmensgruppe at Hamburg July 3 before finishing second-best to Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}) defending his crown in the Grosser Preis von Berlin Aug. 8.

Heading back to the Grosser Preis von Baden Sept. 5, Torquator Tasso overcame the threat of this year's G1 Deutsches Derby hero Sisfahan (Fr) (Isfahan {Ger}) and although his odds here were no reflection of his genuine prospects, he did have several pounds of improvement to find with the main principals. Following Adayar from the break, he was soon left exposed on the wing with only Chrono Genesis (Jpn) (Bago {Fr}) wider out as Oisin Murphy took the “Golden Horn” route. Tracking the moderate pace in mid-division with the eventual second and third on his inner, he sauntered though the contest before being asked to step it up heading out of the back straight.

Hurricane Lane was bustled along there by James Doyle as he tried to build momentum for the pursuit of his stablemate, while Tarnawa was kept towards the inner by Christophe Soumillon and for a few seconds it seemed that Adayar could already be gone on the lead. What appeared to be another exhibition of “endless power”, as William Buick described it after the King George, was by the furlong pole becoming a painful slog for the Godolphin first string and the finishers were now well within range.

Torquator Tasso had weaved around at the top of the straight, but no sooner had he been given a left-hander by Piechulek at the furlong marker than he picked up steam and was thrusting with the whip only waved once from there. As Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane swallowed up the sinking Adayar on the fresh strip of ground towards the fence, the German challenger was doing slightly the better of the trio and in the end there seemed a degree of comfort in the outcome. Bought at the BBAG October Yearling Sale for €24,000, the winner had towered over some of the most expensive bloodstock in the world at the moment of truth with no hint of fluke.

Piechulek said after the thrill of a lifetime which has evaded some of the best in the business in the past, “I think it will be only tomorrow that I realise what it really means to win this race. When I got out of the stalls there wasn't a lot of pace. I tried to get as close to the leading horses as possible. I wanted to be in position, when we got into the final straight, to really launch my horse because he really quickens and gets faster the longer the straight is. I know the horse and am thankful the owner trusted me to ride him, even though I had never ridden in the Arc before.”

Weiss, who was assistant to Jens Hershberger before taking up his licence at the start of 2020, is based near Mulheim where he holds the position of private trainer for Gestut Auenquelle. “That was beautiful,” he said. “He's a very nice horse, he's all heart and is a very strong horse. Rene is a very cool jockey, very cool. It was his first ride in the race. It's very hard to digest and put into words how I feel, but our plan was hatched last winter. I felt he deserved to go for it and my hopes rose when the ground came in our favour. We planned to chase the leading horses and launch our challenge wide into the straight. It's a long straight and we knew he would finish strongly. I had 20 years as an assistant before taking the reins two years ago and I'm so pleased the owner turned down an offer for the horse. He could go to Japan, but let's get him back and see how he is in the next week or so.”

Karl-Dieter Ellerbracke, owner of Gestut Auenquelle, could not be in Paris but was equally overwhelmed with emotion. “We can hardly believe what has happened, we are so happy,” he said. “It had always been the plan to have a tilt at the Arc this year and we carefully planned his season for this race, building him up gradually which has now more than worked out. It is amazing. We will have to make new plans regarding next year, but I would very much like to stand him here as a stallion in Gestut Auenquelle.”

Dermot Weld said of Tarnawa, “It is frustrating to be beaten by so little. I was very happy with her, everything was perfect coming into the race but the ground made the difference today. It is gluey and she can't quicken as she usually does. We'll discuss her future now, but the Breeders' Cup is a possibility.”

Charlie Appleby said of his duo, who look set to stay in training at four, “We knew there wasn't going to be an end-to-end gallop due to the conditions and unfortunately there was no pace and William had to make a decision to go the front and let Adayar prick his ears. To be fair, he did that and got into a rhythm but William did say he didn't like the ground and was going into it rather than going through it. I always thought that this was a horse who wanted a trip, so I got that wrong but it was another brave performance by the horse and he showed his class there. On decent ground next year, over 10 furlongs and a mile and a half he's going to be dominating.”

“Credit to Hurricane Lane, who unfortunately got shuffled back and with the lack of pace that wasn't ideal for a horse who we knew was going to see the trip out well,” Appleby said of the third. “When he did get out, it looked at one stage that he was going to produce a run that was potentially going to win an Arc but full credit to the winner. We knew it was going to be a gruelling race at the finish and that's what it was. They are two 3-year-old colts who have done the team proud and have lost nothing in defeat. I hope they will stay in training, but I need to discuss it with His Highness. They have plenty of scope and I always said that whatever they did this year they'd be better next year. It sounds mad when they've both won a Classic and won multiple group 1s, but I genuinely think they could progress at four.”

Following Star Appeal (Ire) in 1975 and Danedream (Ger) (Lomitas {GB}) in 2011, Torquator Tasso becomes the nation's third Arc hero and also the third from this leading German dam line. Making the early demise of Adlerflug all the more keenly felt as a result, he is the second foal out of Tijuana (Ger) (Toylsome {GB}) who is a half-sister to three black-type performers including the G2 Diana-Trial winner Tusked Wings (Ire) also by Adlerflug and Titurel (Ger) (Dr Fong) who was third in this track's G2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil.

The third dam is the Listed Prix Occitanie runner-up Turbaine (Trempolino), a half-sister to the 1993 heroine of this prize and stellar producer Urban Sea (Miswaki) who produced three black-type winners headed by the leading German sire Tertullian also by Miswaki. Torquator Tasso is therefore linked to the G1 Epsom Derby-winning pair of Galileo (Ire) and Sea the Stars (Ire), with the latter emulating his dam in taking the Arc in one of the great renewals in 2009. The fourth dam is the legendary blue hen Allegretta (GB) (Lombard {GB}), in turn a full-sister to Adlerflug's second dam Alya (Ger). Tijuana also has the 2-year-old colt Tunnes (Ger) (Guiliani {Ire}), a yearling full-sister to Torquator Tasso named Tiara Hilleshage (Ger) and a colt foal again by Adlerflug.

Sunday, ParisLongchamp, France
QATAR PRIX DE L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE-G1, €5,000,000, ParisLongchamp, 10-3, 3yo/up, c/f/m, 12fT, 2:37.62, hy.
1–TORQUATOR TASSO (GER), 131, c, 4, by Adlerflug (Ger)
     1st Dam: Tijuana (Ger), by Toylsome (GB)
     2nd Dam: Tucana (Ger), by Acatenango (Ger)
     3rd Dam: Turbaine, by Trempolino
(€24,000 Ylg '18 BBAGO). O-Gestut Auenquelle; B-Paul H Vandeberg (GER); T-Marcel Weiss; J-Rene Piechulek. €2,857,000. Lifetime Record: MG1SW-Ger, 11-5-3-1, €3,248,800. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Tarnawa (Ire), 128, m, 5, Shamardal–Tarana (Ire), by Cape Cross (Ire). O-H H Aga Khan; B-His Highness The Aga Khan's Studs SC (IRE); T-Dermot Weld. €1,143,000.
3–Hurricane Lane (Ire), 125, c, 3, Frankel (GB)–Gale Force (GB), by Shirocco (Ger). (200,000gns Ylg '19 TATOCT). O-Godolphin; B-Normandie Stud Ltd (IRE); T-Charlie Appleby. €571,500.
Margins: 3/4, SHD, 3. Odds: 72.00, 4.00, 3.00.
Also Ran: Adayar (Ire), Sealiway (Fr), Snowfall (Jpn), Chrono Genesis (Jpn), Bubble Gift (Fr), Alenquer (Fr), Mojo Star (Ire), Broome (Ire), Raabihah, Baby Rider (Fr), Deep Bond (Jpn). Scratched: Love (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by TVG.

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