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.

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders