This is the second time I've run the above photo of Hurricane Run and it is hoped it will be Hurricane Run's second year in a row to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere this Sunday at Longchamp in Paris.
Hurricane Run's main competitors include the Japanese-owned horse Deep Impact; the German-owned horse Shirocco, also trained by Andre Fabre, Hurricane Run's French trainer; the French-owned horse Pride and the Irish-owned horse Dylan Thomas. As of this writing, 12 horses are scheduled to compete, although the cut-off for race entries is Thursday.
The Arc is the most famous horse race in Europe, run every year since 1920 at Hippodrome de Longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. On 18 August 1854, the Paris city council authorised the town prefect to acquire property in the Bois to build a racetrack. Under terms of the June 1856 lease, the City of Paris granted French racing authorities 60 hectares at Longchamp (from 1st July 1856 to 30 June 1906).
According to Longchamp records, on 15 December 1856, the state accorded the "Société d'Encouragement" the right to run the "Autumn" race series previously featured at the Champs-de-Mars.
The first ever race was run at Longchamp on Sunday 27 April, 1857 in front of a massive crowd. The Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie were spectactors, having sailed down the Seine on their private yacht to watch the third race. Until 1930, many Parisians would travel to the track via steamboats and paddleboats, the journey about an hour to the Pont de Suresnes.
The royal couple joined Prince Jerome Bonaparte and his son Prince Napoleon in the Royal Enclosure alongside the Prince of Nassau, Prince Murat and the Duke of Morny, an avid racegoer. Non-aristocratic members of the upper classes were not permitted into the Royal enclosure and watched the races from their carriages on the lawn.
The card for the opening day contained five races. The first horse ever to cross the finishing line was Eclaireur, in the black and red colours of Auguste Lupin. A short length behind was Miss Gladiator, destined to become one of the most famous brood mares in French racing history when she foaled the celebrated Gladiateur, whose bronze statue still stands at Longchamp's main entrance.
In the spring of 1914, Longchamp opened its doors to the Grand Prix de Paris - at that time the world's richest race, with prize money totalling 300,000 French francs. At the beginning of August all racecourses were requisitioned for the war effort. Racing officially began again on 5 May 1919 at Maisons Laffitte, then at Longchamp three days later.
Since it was first run on 3 October 1920, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe has become the world's foremost race for three-year-olds and above over the classic mile-and-a-half distance.The ‘Arc weekend’ brings together the best international thoroughbreds and offers the richest race card in Europe. In 2006, total prize money of over 4.2 million euros will be spread across 16 races on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, consisting of one Group 1 and four Group 2 events on Saturday and 6 Group 1 races on Sunday.
Almost half of this purse is allocated to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barrière, with 1.14 million of the race’s 2 million-euro prize money going to the winner A popular social occasion, the Arc's race weekend is graced by elegantly clad women wearing fancy hats. Champagne is served at kiosks and typically a famous French actress presents the trophy to the Arc winner. Last year the presenter was Emanuelle Beart; the year before, Isabelle Adjani.
Sadly, I shall miss the Arc, but my husband has promised to phone me in Seville the minute the race is over. It is hoped the news will be that my favourite Hurricane Run has triumphed again! The weather will be a determining factor in the outcome - Hurricane Run doesn't like damp ground. Here's to a sunny Sunday in Paris!