Fan Boy To Reporter

As you’re probably all well aware by now, the Grand National is my favourite horse race over the Jumps, but when it comes to the Flat the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is not only my favourite race in Europe – it’s my best in the world!

From watching Dancing Brave (1986) win on the TV as a schoolboy, I’ve always held an infinity and a fascination with the Arc, and at the age of 40 I decided that I would treat myself to a solo trip to the old Longchamp before it was due to be redeveloped.

Well I loved that initial visit so much that I have attended every year since, and in recent years I have even had the honour of being able to cover the whole Arc weekend in a media capacity from the press room.

Unfortunately due to an administration error in 2022, I am unable to report on the weekend from a media angle, but I will still enjoy the weekend’s action as an ordinary patron.

After studying the Arc results over the last century, aided mainly by Malcolm Pannett’s excellent book “Celebrating A Century Of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe”, I was totally enamoured to be in attendance for the 100th edition of the Arc in 2021, which was won by the German longshot Torquator Tasso.

Such was my excitement and appreciation of the 2021 result (NB - I made a few bob with my horse race bets online), that on my return home I had a had a specially commissioned framed collage made up for me that currently holds pride of place on my living room wall.

I bought my photographs from my press room colleagues, had them arranged in chronological order as they happened, and even chose a frame that mimics the colours of the new ParisLongchamp grandstand. I guess you could call me an Arc superfan?

Arc de Triomphe race

The Ambience Of Arc Weekend

As well as featuring Group races galore over the course of two days, Arc weekend is also a wonderful social event that brings together racing fans, and competitors, from all over the globe.

You cannot fail to be immersed by the whole ambience of the venue, from the infectious smiling and excitement of the Japanese, to the slightly tipsy singing from the Irish – especially after they’ve had a well punted winner! 

From going through the entrance gates early on Saturday morning, to exiting them as the sun begins to set on Sunday evening, you cannot fail to be totally immersed in the rich history of Longchamp Racecourse. I defy you not to go back!

For those of you itching for the end of the Flat and the return of the Jumps, please check out all our Cheltenham Races Betting Odds here.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*


FIRST PUBLISHED: 26th September 2022

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.