HORSE RACING: Lammtarra joins the greats

PRIX DE L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE: Longchamp witnesses history as a horse with a lion's heart is crowned the new king of racing

WHEN they talk about the great horses, Lammtarra will now have to be included. Ribot, Mill Reef and Nijinsky can expect a new companion in the pantheon following yesterday's historic Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

It will be something of a family reunion as Lammtarra, the most inexperienced horse ever to win an Arc, triumphed in Paris 25 years to the day after his father, Nijinsky, surrendered an unbeaten record. As the chestnut colt completed the mighty trinity of the Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Arc there was the reminder of another, more poignant, anniversary. It was 12 months ago this weekend that Alex Scott, Lammtarra's first trainer, was shot dead in Newmarket.

Lammtarra's life, in a competitive sense anyway, may also be sadly short- lived. He is now on course for the Breeders' Cup Turf, which will be the fifth, and almost certainly last, assignment of his twinkling career. On the road to the pantheon he will reside, pleasurably, and pass on his seed of greatness, in either Newmarket or Kentucky.

Lammtarra's snapshot and brilliant career was not even a dream in the spring. As he wintered in Dubai with his Godolphin workmates the sustenance brought to him was not hay and oats but rather grapes and fruit as he recovered from a life-threatening respiratory illness. "He was almost dead," Sheikh Mohammed, the head of Godolphin, said yesterday. "He must be one of the greats to come through that sickness and do this."

This core of steel is what Lammtarra will be remembered for. There have been faster horses, more flamboyant horses and horses with greater charisma, but for competitive strength at the highest level he has no peer.

Godolphin knew this and Lammtarra's greatest asset was never going to be underplayed yesterday. Lanfranco Dettori pushed his mount into a challenging position from the outset, just in behind the pace-making Luso. The latter's partner, Cash Asmussen, apologised for not carrying the field along for longer as Lammtarra swept to the head of affairs over half a mile out.

In the straight, Lammtarra was under the whip but this was a manoeuvre of encouragement rather than desperation. The hawks launched from behind, but only Freedom Cry got to the leader's burnished withers and this galvanised rather than discouraged Lammtarra. By the time Dettori raised himself in celebration out of the saddle he had three-quarters of a length to spare.

Of the other British runners Balanchine finished 10th on almost certainly her last appearance, Luso 13th and Strategic Choice 14th. Last year's winner, Carnegie was sixth.

Walter Swinburn, who lost the ride on Lammtarra after winning the Derby, said Balanchine was never travelling well but saluted his former partner. "I was always fighting a losing battle on Balanchine," he said. "All my emotions about Lammtarra went away back in July. Now I am thrilled for the horse.

"I had reservations about the ground, but he has come into this race with a better preparation than he had for the Derby and King George."

This was posted as a British win, the first in the Arc since Carroll House in 1989, but the detail did not bear scrutiny. Lammtarra, an American- bred horse, is owned by a Dubaian, trained by a Dubaian (Saeed Bin Suroor) and ridden by an Italian. The reception for his victory was not typically British as Dettori blew kisses to a crowd in full Continental roar.

The noisy peak came when the jockey executed his now familiar circus exit from the saddle. It was hardly typically Dubaian, either, as Sheikh Mohammed embraced Dettori in an uncommon display of pleasure.

"I am stuck for words for the first time in my life," the jockey said before disproving his initial statement. "This horse is a lion. He is so tough and hard and he does not want to lose. He has been a little bit immature but now he stays, he gallops, and he fights."

Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, added: "He has to be some horse. He had to show great courage to overcome his illness and to undergo such a hasty preparation for the Derby. He was more immature then, like a little schoolboy, but now he is the ultimate racing machine."

The machine, sadly, will be switched on just one more time, it appears. Belmont Park in a month's time is likely to be the last time the newest recruit to history's very top team parades his talents.


1. LAMMTARRA L Dettori

2. Freedom Cry O Peslier

3. Swain M J Kinane

Also: 4. Lando; 5. Pure Grain; 6. Carnegie; 7. Partipral; 8. Gunboat Diplomacy; 9. Carling; 10. Balanchine; 11. El Tenor; 12. Tot Ou Tard; 13. Luso; 14. Strategic Choice; 15. El Sembrador; 16. Sunrise Song.

16 ran. 3/4, 2, 11/2, 21/2, 1/2. (Winner trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, at Newmarket, for Godolphin). Pari-mutuel: 3.10; 2.20, 3.90,4.10. DF: 29.10. Time: 2min 31.8sec.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine