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Qatar Arc de Triomphe : Waldgeist denies Enable a third Arc in thrilling finish

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Enable (Nathaniel) failed in her quest to become the first horse to win three editions of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three times. As, on Sunday (October 6th), on a track which rode very soft due to the inclement weather during the week, she had to settle for second behind the French hopeful Waldgeist (Galileo). The latter is trained at Chantilly by André and was ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot.

The British raider Ghaiyyath (Dubawi), deploying his favourite tactics, set a good tempo after showing the way to Magical (Galileo) and the Japanese raider Fièrement (Deep Impact). Behind the front trio, Enable was waiting to pounce, as the heralded French three-year-old Sottsass (Siyouni), and Waldgeist, also stalked the pace. Japan (Galileo), the Irish raider and a stablemate of Magical, was further back after pursuing a wider course. On entering the straight the race started to hot up and Fièrement was the first to crack. Ghaiyyath weakened soon after – with Magical the next to follow suit… Going to the final 350 metres, a three-way fight between Enable, Sottsass and Japan ensued.

Enable seemed to quicken decisively 150 metres from the wire which enabled her to nullify the threats of the battling pair Sottsass and Japan, who continued to slug it out. However, this was the moment that Pierre-Charles Boudout angled out for his challenge on Waldgeist. Having been asked to pick up in the final 300metres, Waldgeist took a bit of time to pick up. However, he was in full stride going to the final 150metres as the combination finished with a real rattle.

The stride of the rail-hugging Enable began to shorten and, on the very soft ground, the mare simply had no answers. Consequently, the length and three-quarters winning margin spoke to the superiority exhibited by Waldgeist.

The win enabled Pierre-Charles Boudot to win his first Arc as the record winning trainer, André Fabre, extended his record in this domain after gaining his eighth success in the race. Dietrich von Boetticher had bred Hurricane Run, the 2005 winner, but the horse was no longer carrying his colours as he had sold that horse during the summer of the aforementioned year.

Bred in Great Britain, Waldgeist was racing for the 22st time in the Foy, his 9th win to date. His dam Waldlerche (Monsun) won the Prix Pénélope (Gr3) after being bought € 100,000 at the Deauville sales. She also gave the winner of the Prix de Malleret (Gr2) Waldlied (New Approach). Another filly by New Approach, still unraced to this day, was born in 2015. A Sea The Stars colt born in 2016 started with a win for trainer John Gosden last year in Britain and won a handicap at Newmarket lately.


André Fabre (the trainer of Waldgeist, 1st)

“I’ve immense admiration and respect for Enable but am also very proud of Waldgeist. I really liked the way he raced at Ascot [King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes]. He was beaten on that occasion but he ran very well and he didn’t have a hard race. He had a break after that. Pierre Charles [Boudot] was similarly delighted by the horse’s effort and trumpeted “we’re going to win the Arc”. He was very confident. The horse’s preparation went very well and he was in very good condition coming into the race. He has continued to strengthen up and has become more mature.  Waldgeist is a calm horse and straight forward to train. I must confess that I was very worried in the lead-up to the race on account of the rains and, in the Prix Ganay, when the going was good, he floated over the ground. However, he did win on a heavy track as a juvenile and has won on all types of ground. The Arc is one of the world’s great races, and the win is a just reward for the efforts of undertaken by the Dietrich Von Boetticher-Andreas Jacobs partnership. As regards what happens next, it will be the owners who will decide the next step, as the horse could be retired to stud.”

Dietrich von Boetticher (the co-owner and co-breeder of Waldgeist, 1st)

“Winning the Arc is an incredible feeling and it represents a lifetime’s work but, in general terms, you don’t tend to succeed. It’s taken some time to bring to fruition. Harping back to the past, we bred a past Arc winner, Hurricane Run, although he didn’t race in her colours, and also raced the Arc placed Borgia. In order to win these types of races, you need at times to know how to work in partnership, which is something we embarked upon with Andreas Jacobs: the owner of Newsells Park Stud [notes to editors: this is the home of Nathaniel – the sire of Enable!]. We were worried about the ground going into the race and it was a real challenge for us. However, the horse has never been better. I hadn’t expected to beat Enable or bargained for the way the horse picked up in the straight. As for what happens next, I don’t wish to make a decision before consulting with André Fabre first. We will do what is right by the horse. They aren’t machines but living creatures.”

Andreas Jacobs (co-owner and co-breeder of Waldgeist, 1st)

“It’s a feeling comparable to the day when I got married! When it comes to breeding horses you don’t always need to follow the latest trends. At our stud, we prize those renowned and stamina-endowed German lines. We used those criteria when it came to standing our stallion Nathaniel.”

Pierre-Charles Boudot (jockey of Waldgeist, 1st)

“It hasn’t sunk in yet but I’m over the moon. To win the Arc is just a wonderful feeling. Waldgeist is a horse of a lifetime as far as I’m concerned and I’m happy to say that it rung true today, particularly as he showed tremendous heart. We had a lot of respect for Enable, but today she was simply beaten by a better horse on the day. It’s all a little crazy right and I can die happy right now. You need a crack performer to win the Arc. We deprived the champion mare of a third win in the race. I was struggling on Waldgeist to lie up with the pace on account of the very strong tempo, and the ground was very sticky. My horses was crying out for a patient ride. So I let him do his own thing in the false straight, which enabled him to recharge his batteries. We made our effort on the outside of the pack. The horse showed tremendous heart. On hitting the straight, there was a wall of four horses fighting it out in front, and my horse subsequently picked up.”

Lord Teddy Grimthorpe (racing manager of Prince Khalid Abdullah, the owner of d’Enable, 2nd)

“She ran a blinder in this ground and we couldn’t have asked any more of her. Enable has become a real icon. She is held in deep affection by many people, and the public at large. The Prince will decide her future. At this moment in time, we are counting our blessings that a mare of such quality has come into our lives. She is something else. The Prince will take his time before deciding which path to take with her. The expectation levels coming into the race were simply huge and it’s great that so much positive energy has accompanied her on this particular journey. We hadn’t expected to get beaten but it wouldn’t be right to grumble about her performance.”

John Gosden (the trainer of  Enable, 2nd)

“The mare has run very well but, on a heavy track, she wasn’t unable to unleash her deadly turn of foot, which she would otherwise have been able to do on a soft or very soft track. Waldgeist beat us by virtue of a strong finish, and tapping into his stamina, but you can’t fault Enable. As for future, the decision is entirely up to Prince Abdullah.”

Jean-Claude Rouget (the trainer of Sottsass, 3rd)

“We are delighted and the four leading fancies have filled the first four places – so logica has been respected. It was a true run race. I had feared that Ghaiyyath might sail into a big lead, but this wasn’t the case. Every horse in the race was there with a chance and it was a very good race. The rumour mill beforehand suggested that Waldgeist wouldn’t act on a heavy track but it proved to be his summer! He’s a seasoned performer and his preparation was geared towards this race. Enable also ran her race as did Sottsass. Cristian Demuro gave him a perfect ride and the colt courageously held onto third. He deserves a good break during the winter, and it’s on the cards that he will stay in training next year. So expect to see him contest the 2020 edition of the Arc!”

Aidan O’Brien (the trainer of Japan, 4th, and Magical, 5th)

“Japan and Magical both ran very well. This ground may have been on the soft side, but it was the same for the other contenders. It’s possible that these two horses will race again this season.”