Arc De Triomphe 2022 Race: Did These Racehorse Owners Make a Mistake?

Verry Elleegant (no, that’s not a misspelling) is a big deal Down Under. The mare is nothing short of a superstar, having won the 2021 Melbourne Cup to add to her collection of other huge victories in her career. While she was always rated as one of the best around, her Melbourne Cup win last November put her into the stratosphere for a few reasons, including the fact she crushed the red-hot favorite, Incentivize, on her way to glory.

Verry Elleegant followed up that victory with some very big performances in the Australian autumn (spring in this part of the world) carnival season. The expectation after that was that she would rest over the Aussie winter (our summer), and then go for Spring Carnival glory again, including the defense of the Melbourne Cup. But Verry Elleegant’s owner had other ideas. Instead of preparing for the riches of Australia’s spring season, where a lot of money can be made, they decided to send her north to plunder Europe’s top prizes, including Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (October 2nd, 2022).

Arc odds have ballooned

But things haven’t gone to plan. Verry Elleegant made her European debut at Deauville (France) on August 22nd. She started as the race favorite; she finished last. As a result, the horse racing betting markets reacted, cutting her to 66/1 and above for the Arc. It seems those grand hopes of the owners arriving in France and leaving with a huge slice of the Arc’s prize money. At $5 million,  it’s the richest purse in European racing.

Of course, not all hopes have been dashed yet. We all feel a bit strange when we travel long-distance on a flight, and while the utmost care will have been taken with Verry Elleegant, it’s normal for a horse to take time to acclimatize to new surroundings. Still, you can’t help but wonder if owners, Jomara Bloodstock, will feel they have made a mistake. The new Australian racing season has just begun, and there are plenty of big-money races at courses like Flemington and Randwick where you feel that Verry Elleegant would have been in contention.

A chance for redemption

Still, while nobody should rule her out of contention in the Arc, there might be another possibility for the owners – Ascot. She has an entry for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes on October 15th at Ascot. While it might not match the prestige of the Arc, it’s one of the highlights of the British racing season and a Group 1 event in its own right. It’s also less demanding than the Arc, so it’s possibly a way for the owners to cut their losses.

Nonetheless, a lot will depend on what happens in the coming weeks. Here is talk of another tilt in France, with the Qatar Prix Vermeille on September 11th, or perhaps a run at Leopardstown in Ireland on the same weekend. Perform well in either of those and the chatter will once again ignite about taking the Arc. However, while connections have a relaxed demeanor at the moment, you can’t help but wonder if they regret sending an Aussie superstar across the world into the unknown. We will soon learn whether the risk was worth it.