Take's failure to follow pre- race instructions on Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt provoked an enraged reaction rarely seen on a racecourse from any trainer. 'I told him he'd be better off in Japan,' Chapple-Hyam said.
The Wiltshire-based trainer was so consumed with anger that he insisted Take would be off the horse in future and that John Reid would replace him in the Rothmans International at Woodbine, Toronto, later this month. Teruya Yoshida, White Muzzle's owner and Take's main patron, agreed to this demand.
This brusque sacking appeared somewhat ill-deserved when Take was later first past the post for the same trainer and owner on Erin Bird in the Prix de l'Opera. Chapple- Hyam seemed to acknowledge this by dropping to the floor, bowing to his jockey, and then shaking his hand. 'I gave him a right winding-up before the race and didn't miss out on the expletives,' the trainer reported.
The jockey's vindication was shortlived, though. The Longchamp stewards decided that some of his manoeuvring constituted careless riding. They disqualified his mount and issued Take with a four- day suspension.
A hint of this disastrous turn of events may have been in Take's mind for much of the day. Before racing he happily signed autographs but was noticeably quiet as he sat alone in the jockeys' quarters. Once aboard White Muzzle in the parade ring he stroked the horse's mane, and it was unclear which of them he was trying to soothe.
That either man or beast was malfunctioning became clear soon after the start. His orders had been to follow the committed pacemaker, Broadway Flyer, but, even by halfway, White Muzzle had passed just four of the 20 runners.
Chapple-Hyam believed this to be tactical naivety of a rare level. 'The horse has obviously got a lot more speed than I knew about,' he said sarcastically. But Take did not roll over and take this criticism. He observed he would have liked to have been closer to the pace, but that White Muzzle failed to respond to his increasingly frantic signals. The picture for the jockey was made to look even worse by his mount's late flourish, which carried him into sixth.
Not that Take's was the only pitiful story of the race. Reid and Walter Swinburn, on Apple Tree and Ezzoud respectively, finished third and fourth but would have been even closer had they not, at one stage, become a single ball of limbs. 'I went for a space on the inner, but there was a bit of a barging match for 50 yards,' Reid said. 'I could have won it. I was only beaten a length and I hit the fence three times.'
Swinburn, as you would expect, had a different version of this collision, but cannot have been as persuasive in the stewards' room. He was banned for four days for careless riding.
Michael Stoute's Ezzoud, though, was the first British- trained horse home in yet another sobering Arc for the travellers. Much hope is transported in the horseboxes that descend on Longchamp each October, but usually it is emptiness that returns. Britain has now won the race just five times in the last 40 years.
This year, as routinely happens, the Arc went to a French horse with a typically French preparation. Carnegie, one of five Fabre runners in the race, had the summer off before the gas was turned up this autumn. However, that meant he was not the most battle-hardened soldier in the field. 'I was very confident, but his lack of experience is something that is hard to overcome,' Fabre said.
This was a result the breeding purists dreamed of. Carnegie is a son of Sadler's Wells, Europe's most expensive stallion at around pounds 150,000 a service, and Detroit, who herself won the Arc in 1980.
Bred by Robert Sangster, Carnegie would probably have been trained by Chapple- Hyam had his main patron not agreed to sell the colt as a yearling to Sheikh Mohammed for dollars 1.6m. 'Of course I'm delighted, but I would rather own an Arc winner than breed one,' Sangster said.
If Fabre's entreaties succeed he will persuade Sheikh Mohammed to keep the horse in training. 'I think the horse with the most potential in the race won it,' the trainer said. 'Physically he'll be a better horse next year and he deserves to stay in training. I look forward to it.'