Cirrus des Aigles Kicks Off Arc Weekend
Photo: Mathea Kelley
Cirrus des Aigles

Longchamp will offer 15 races over two days Oct. 6-7, including Europe’s premier middle-distance test, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), during France’s marquee racing weekend.

As an appetizer to the Arc and six other top-level events Oct. 7, the preceding day's card features eight races worth a combined $1,562,057 (1.2 million euros), anchored by a quartet of group II events.

Europe’s reigning champion older male Cirrus des Aigles, embattled by a controversial drug positive and a subsequent police investigation after finishing second in the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) in May, takes the spotlight again Oct. 6. He heads a field of nine for the Qatar Prix Dollar (Fr-II) in his first start since while bidding for a third win from five starts this year.

Cirrus des Aigles landed the 2010 Prix Dollar and finished second to Byword in last year’s edition of the 9.69-furlong (1,950 meters) test before capturing the inaugural QIPCO British Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket and ultimately the Cartier Award as Europe’s top older male of the season. He will use the Prix Dollar as a prep for a repeat bid in the Champion Stakes later this month.

Trainer Corrine Barande-Barbe’s 6-year-old Even Top gelding enjoyed group I victories earlier this year, winning the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic by a neck March 30 at Meydan Racecourse, and the Prix Ganay-Prix Air Mauritius in an eight-length romp April 29 at Longchamp. He subsequently finished second to Golden Lilac in the Prix d’Ispahan on May 27 at Longchamp but returned a positive test for a massive dose of an undisclosed prohibited anti-inflammatory medication.

Barande-Barbe, who has been adamant that the positive was either the result of a testing error or tampering by an unknown individual, was scheduled to meet at the end of the week with officials of France-Galop, which could disqualify Cirrus de Aigles from his runner-up finish. She has requested further testing on Cirrus des Aigles.

Challengers in the Prix Dollar include trainer John Gosden’s English group III winner Colombian, who finished third in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) Aug. 18 in his most recent outing; 2010 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) victor Chinchon, who enters off a three-length win in the Singapore Airlines International Cup (Sing-I) May 20 for trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias; and English group III winner Hunter's Light, who comes in off a win in Turkey in the International France Galop FRBC Anatolia Trophy (Tur-II) Sept. 2 for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The Oct. 6 card also includes the Qatar Prix Chaudenay (Fr-II) for 3-year-olds going 1 7/8 miles (3,000 meters); the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein (Fr-II) for 3-year-olds and older at one mile (1,600 meters), and the Qatar Prix de Royallieu (Fr-II) for fillies and mares at 1 9/16 miles (2,500 meters).

Bettors in the U.S. will have the first-ever opportunity to wager into the world’s second-largest pool as Kentucky-based wagering and simulcast company AmWest Entertainment has joined with France Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) to simulcast the Arc weekend races.

The Oct. 6 card begins at 7:30 a.m. ET and runs through the final post time of 10:10. For more information, visit www.amwestentertainment.com.

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