Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe D-153
Mare Australis lays down a marker
 

03/05/2021
Taking pride of place at Paris-Longchamp last Sunday (May 2), the Prix Ganay kick-started the French group one season. The 2,100 (10 1/2f) metres feature was annexed by Mare Australis - a four-year-old colt trained by André Fabre, ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot and owned by Gestüt Schlenderhan – the historic German stud owned by the Von Ullmann family.
 
A prep race of real significance. The Prix Ganay is an important stepping stone on the road to the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the world championship race of thoroughbred racing, which takes place every year on the first Sunday of October at Paris-Longchamp. Its significance is denoted by the examples of:

- Sottsass, the last winner of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October, won the Prix Ganay last spring (2020).
- Waldgeist was another to win both races in 2019.
- Cloth of Stars came close to completing the double in 2017, having won the Prix Ganay before going on to finish second in the Arc behind the phenomenal talent that was Enable...
 
What do Mare Australis, Waldgeist and Cloth of Stars all have in common? They were/are trained by André Fabre, and he didn’t hold back after elaborating on the success of Mare Australis last Sunday. He said:  «He will be a better horse in the autumn and I have always thought he was a horse for the Arc. He’s just as effective over both trips [editor’s note: the Ganay is run over 2100m (10 1/2f) and the Arc over 2400m (12f)]. He’s had no issues and has simply been backward. I don’t know whether he will tackle the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, or another prep race, prior to the Arc. »
 
André Fabre: the master trainer. The trainer based at Chantilly (the largest training centre for English thoroughbreds in Europe, and one managed by France Galop) is none other than the record holder regarding Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe successes. As to date he has trained eight winners: Trempolino, 1987; Subotica, 1992; Carnegie, 1994; Peintre Célèbre, 1997; Sagamix, 1998; Hurricane Run, 2005; Rail Link, 2006; and Waldgeist in 2019. Of the octet only two horses, Subotica and Waldgeist, were in the four-year-olds plus age bracket when they won the Arc (the others were all three-year-olds at the time). It also begs the question which race proved the launch pad for their season? It was the Prix Ganay!
 
Twelve doubles in a century. The inaugural edition of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe took place in 1920, and the race celebrates its 100th anniversary this year (the 1939 and 1940 never took place).
To date 12 horses have completed the Ganay-Arc double: Ksar (1922), Massine (1924), Biribi (1927), Djebel (1942), Tantième (1951), Exbury (1963), Rheingold (1973), Allez France (1974), Subotica (1992), Dylan Thomas (2007), Waldgeist (2019) and Sottsass (2020).
 
The Gestüt Schlenderhan and the Arc. Mare Australis is owned by his breeders, the Gestüt Schlenderhan (which we associate with the von Ullmann family). Since 1869, this stud, on the outskirts of Cologne, has produced 19 Deutsches Derby winners. This is a record in what is the most important race of the German calendar.

The Gestüt Schlenderhan also bred the outstanding Manduro, the favourite for the 2007 Arc, but who got injured before the race. Since 1928, the Ullmann family has provided 15 starters in world championship of thoroughbred racing, and three have made it on to the podium: In Swoop (2nd in 2020), Tiger Hill (3rd in 1999) and Oleander (3rd in 1929). However, that elusive first victory still awaits!