Dermot Weld rued the overnight rain which
he feels cost Tarnawa a famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory as his
superstar mare was forced to settle for second in a Longchamp thriller, writes
80-1 shot Torquator Tasso sprung a huge surprise in the French capital, thundering up the outside of Tarnawa and Irish Derby winner Hurricane Lane to bring Arc glory to Germany for the third time.
Weld’s Breeders’ Cup Turf-winning mare was slow out the stalls and found herself largely fenced in by the rail for the majority of the 1m4f epic but found room to manoeuvre as the finish loomed into view.
It looked set to become a battle between the five-year-old and Hurricane Lane, backed in to start as favourite due to the conditions, but Torquator Tasso turned on the afterburners to leave both heavyweights in the rear-view mirror.
A runners-up spot nets Weld a cool €1m and while he hailed Tarnawa’s efforts, he couldn’t shake a feeling of what might have been had conditions suited having also finished as the bridesmaid in the Irish Champion Stakes.
“I honestly believe if we didn’t have all that rain last night, she’d have won,” said the 73-year-old, whose glittering CV remains without an Arc triumph.
“But she was in great order and she hasn’t let me down for a big run. She’s run a superb race.
“This [race] had always been my plan, my target, but second is a lonely place.
“She was in great order coming into the race and you saw the staying Tarnawa rather than the speed Tarnawa – her speed was of limited value today.
“She’s a very talented filly. When she won the Breeders’ Cup, she showed tremendous pace, and she showed a lot of pace in winning two Group 1s here last year.
“You didn’t quite see that pace today because of the gluey ground. She handles all ground but gluey ground, she just can’t produce her speed.”
Tarnawa’s Prix de l’Opera victory on Arc weekend last year came on heavy ground but the downpours saw the ante-post favourite’s price drift as far as 13-2 by the time the field of 14 set off.
Weld admitted before the race the ground was ‘a concern’ but Tarnawa once again showed she is a horse for all seasons by staying on gamely.
A return across the Atlantic could now be next on the agenda as Weld seeks a repeat of last year’s Stateside success.
“The Breeders’ Cup Turf again, or the Breeders Cup fillies and mares, will be considered,” he said.
“Today was a big day and she hasn’t let us down.”
The overnight withdrawal of Love due to a temperature left Aidan O’Brien with two contenders, Snowfall and Broome, and they finished down the field in sixth and 11th respectively.
Broome set the early pace in Paris but faded as the race wore on while Snowfall was level with the winner around three furlongs out but couldn’t match Torquator Tasso’s pace when push came to shove.