Link derails Arc rivals

Rail Link was a shock winner of a star-studded Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Rail Link was a shock winner of a star-studded Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

The three-year-old colt, trained by Andre Fabre and ridden by Stephane Pasquier, landed the spoils from the mare Pride, who finished fast to snatch second place.

Japanese raider Deep Impact was third after pressing Rail Link hard throughout the final furlong.

The winner, owned by Khalid Abdullah, was one of three runners from the Fabre stable in company with last year’s winner Hurricane Run and well-fancied Shirocco.

Irish Wells made the running once the field settled down, with Rail Link and Deep Impact handy and Hurricane Run not far off the pace.

Irish Wells was still in front as they turned for home, but he was quickly challenged by Deep Impact as Hurricane Run failed to get a clear run under Kieren Fallon at a crucial point.

Rail Link had the speed to get the better of the valiant Deep Impact and managed to hold Pride, who came from last place to finish second.

Hurricane Run was fourth, with Shirocco last.

A delighted Fabre, winning his seventh Arc, told BBC Sport: “They went a sensible pace. Obviously I was disappointed to see Hurricane Run boxed in, but I think the others had a fair race.

“It’s just part of the chain (winning the Arc again), but of course I’m delighted, I’m very proud – and very proud for the horse.”

An emotional Pasquier added: “I feel like I want to cry so much. I am very happy.”

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Abdullah, was delighted to see Rail Link lift the famous prize, 20 years after Dancing Brave registered his unforgettable success in the same colours.

“We certainly thought he could do it, but it’s easy to say that now,” he said. “He’s an improving horse and he’s kept on improving with each start.

“When he won the Grand Prix de Paris he showed himself to be a very-high class horse and he’s just improved and improved.

“In the last couple of weeks Andre has been really pleased with him and to win an Arc like that is just unbelievable really. Andre is the greatest and everything went right.”

Yasuo Ikee, trainer of the third, who was sent off a short-priced favourite and cheered on by hundreds of his compatriots, said: “He’s run his race and I thought he ran very well, but today there were two better horses.

“I have no regrets about coming here and hope to return and win the race in the future – I would like to come back and try again next year.

“His condition was in top form and I thought he was 100 per cent today. I didn’t expect him to be up with the pace, but he settled well and I wasn’t worried. I’m very proud of my horse and full of admiration for the two in front of him today.”

Fallon said of Hurricane Run: “It was a messy race, they went no pace and the ground was too lively.”

Derrick Smith, part-owner of last year’s hero, added: “Kieren was in a pocket on the rails and couldn't get out. The modest pace didn’t help matters.”

Barking-based Coral claimed they would have faced a seven-figure payout if the Japanese horse – who started at 1-2 on the Pari-Mutuel – had prevailed.

Rail Link’s ‘industry’ starting price was 8-1, but plenty of punters took advantage of the Mutuel return of 24-1.

“This was one of the most extraordinary day-of-race gambles in racing history, with Japanese race fans piling hundred of thousands of pounds on Deep Impact in France, and British punters following them in at 5-2 with UK bookmakers,” said Coral spokesman Simon Clare.

“While the defeat of Deep Impact saved us a massive payout, we still lost on the race as smaller punters placed bets on all his rivals at artificially inflated prices on the PMU, and Rail Link at 24-1 was the most popular.”

Blue Square’s Kate Miller said: “British punters are a shrewd bunch and quickly latched on to the false trading prices of runners.

“We started the day with a great book and were looking forward to the race, but in the hours leading up we saw more and more money coming in for all the runners when it was clear that inflated prices would be returned.”

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