Johnny Murtagh, aboard Sinndar, celebrates winning the Epsom Derby June 10.

Johnny Murtagh, aboard Sinndar, celebrates winning the Epsom Derby June 10.

Associated Press/ Findlay Kember

Sinndar Wins l'Arc de Triomphe; Montjeu Fourth

The Aga Khan's homebred 3-year-old Sinndar upset defending champion Montjeu, winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triompe Lucien Barriere (Fr-I) by approximately 1 1/2 lengths Sunday at Longchamp. 3-year-olds filled the top three finishing positions, with a pair of sophomore fillies, Egyptband and Volvoreta, finishing second and third, respectively. Volvoreta came home three lengths behind Egyptband, with heavy favorite Montjeu another 2 1/2 lengths back in fourth. Hightori finished fifth, followed by Samum, Daring Miss, Russian Hope, Hesiode, and Raypour.

Sinndar (Grand Lodge--Sinntara, by Lashkari) broke on top as jockey Johnny Murtagh peered over his right shoulder, looking for stablemate Raypour, who was supplemented into the field to serve as a rabbit for Sinndar. Sinndar then settled into second place as Raypour, under a hard ride, move up to the lead. Montjeu settled in stride toward the rear of the field and slowly picked off runners, moving into contention by the top of the stretch. As they turned for home, Raypour fell away as John Oxx trainee Sinndar made the lead with Volvoreta moving up to challenge along the rail with 300 meters to run. The filly, however, could not sustain her run, but Egyptband was moving well from the outside. Sinndar ran on well to finish the course in 2:25 4/5, as the Aga Khan's silks remained on the lead through the entire 1 1/2 miles.

Sinndar paid $4.60, $3.20, and $4.20. Egyptband returned $8.40 and $9. Volvoreta was worth $3.60 to show. The exacta paid $92.80.

The win his the fifth in succession for the Irish-bred and his fourth career group I triumph. The winner of both the Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I) came into the race off an eight-length triumph in the Prix Niel-Casino d'Enghien les Bains Barriere (Fr-II). As a juvenile, the bay colt won the Aga Khan Studs National Stakes (Ire-I) in his second career start.

"I think this horse is one of the best I've ever seen," the Aga Khan told Sporting Life. "Someone told me he is the first horse to win the (Epsom) Derby, the Irish Derby and the Arc -- I think he is an exceptional horse."

Montjeu's disappointed trainer John Hammond told Sporting Life, "He just didn't fire today. It's disappointing but I'm afraid that happens. We'll see how he is -- it wouldn't be surprising if something popped up in the next 24 hours. It's very unusual for a horse as consistent as him to throw in a moderate run like that."