Longchamp Racecourse – Your Guide to France’s Premier Horse Racing Track
Racing was first held at Longchamp in 1857 when Emperor Napoleon III and his wife were among an impressive list of aristocrats in the Royal Enclosure. A major re-development was completed in 2018 with the Arc temporarily moved to Chantilly the previous year.
Longchamp is home to the French 1000 Guineas and French 2000 Guineas as well as the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. It stages more than half of France’s Group 1 races including the Grand Prix de Paris. Longchamp has recently introduced two twilight meetings and staged their first free after-racing concert. The capacity was increased to 50,000 racegoers during the recent upgrade, confirming the status of the course among the finest in Europe.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was first held in 1920 with victory going to the three-year-old Comrade. The race has grown in stature to become one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. It takes place over the Classic distance of a mile and a half and often features the highest rated thoroughbreds in training.
In 2008 the prize fund for the Arc was raised to a staggering €4 million by The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club. The race is traditionally held on the first Sunday in October, the climax of Arc weekend and one of the biggest social events of the European racing season. The supporting card features five other Group 1 races with eight in total over the two-day festival.
Eight horses have won the Arc twice, a feat most recently achieved by John Gosden’s Enable. She won the 2017 running at Chantilly before winning at Longchamp the following year. Enable featured in plenty of Longchamp tips to complete a record-breaking hat-trick in 2019 but was denied by Waldgeist. Connections sportingly decided to keep her in training for one final tilt at the race in 2020.
Other dual winners include Ribot (1955 and 1956), Alleged (1977 and 1978) and Treve (2013 and 2014). Treve also attempted the elusive Arc hat-trick in 2015 but could finish only fourth behind Golden Horn. Other famous names on the roll of honour include Sea Bird (1965), Mill Reef (1971), Dancing Brave (1986), Lammtarra (1995) and Sea The Stars (2009).
Prix de l’Abbaye
The Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp is one of the top all-aged sprint races of the year and takes place on Arc day. The race was added to the card to celebrate Longchamp’s centenary in 1957 but it did not gain Group 1 status until 1976.
There have been four dual winners of the Prix de l’Abbaye, the most recent being the popular Lochsong (1993 and 1994). Runners from Britain and Ireland have dominated this race over the years. The impressive list of past winners includes champion sprinters Moorestyle (1980), Sharpo (1982) and Dayjur (1990). Wizz Kid provided the last French-trained success in 2012.
Prix de la Foret
The Prix de la Foret is a Group 1 race for three-year-olds and upwards over seven furlongs, the final Group 1 on Arc weekend. The race was originally held at Chantilly but was transferred to Longchamp in 1907.
There have been six dual winners of the Prix de la Foret, the most recent being the William Haggas-trained One Master (2018 and 2019). Moorestyle won the race in 1980 and 1981, trained by Robert Armstrong and ridden by Lester Piggott. Other notable winners include Sanedtki (1977 and 1978), Ma Biche (1983), Soviet Star (1987) and Goldikova (2010).
Longchamp Arc weekend
The opening day of Arc weekend features two Group 1 races; The Prix de Royallieu and The Prix du Cadran. Epsom Oaks winner Anapurna won the Prix de Royallieu for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori in 2019, a race confined to fillies and mares over a mile and three-quarters.
The Prix Du Cadran is over a gruelling two and a half miles and is one of the top Autumn targets for Gold Cup horses. The most successful horse in the history of the race was Marsyas who won four consecutive times from 1944 to 1947. Other notable winners include Buckskin (1977 and 1978), Gold River (1981), Westerner (2003 and 2004) and Sergeant Cecil (2006).
There are six Group 1 races on Arc Sunday, one of the finest day’s racing anywhere in the world. The top two-year-olds are put through their paces in the Prix Marcel Boussac and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, significant trials for the 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas respectively.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is followed by the Prix de l’Opera and the Prix de l’Abbaye. The Prix de l’Opera is for fillies and mares over a mile and a quarter. The five-furlong Prix de l’Abbaye often decides which horse is crowned Europe’s champion sprinter before the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret brings the curtain down on a fantastic day of sport.
The Longchamp Guineas meeting in May always attracts raiders from Britain and Ireland. The Poules d’Essai des Poulains and the Poules d’Essai des Pouliches are the French equivalent of the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas respectively.
The Grand Prix de Paris meeting is traditionally held on Bastille Day in mid-July. Aidan O’Brien has won this race five times including for the last three seasons with Kew Gardens (2018), Japan (2019) and Mogul (2020). He still has a long way to go to match the incredible record of Andre Fabre who has won it on 13 occasions.
The Arc Trials take place in mid-September with a top quality card featuring the Prix Niel, Prix Vermeille and Prix Foy. Fabre also boasts a formidable record in the Prix Niel with 11 career wins while His Highness The Aga Khan has seen his colours carried to victory a record five times. The Trials always lead to a shake-up in the Arc de Triomphe betting with the big meeting itself taking place on the first weekend in October.
France operates the Pari-Mutuel, a betting system very similar to Tote betting in the UK. If you bet at Pari- Mutuel odds at Longchamp you will not know the winning odds until after the race. This system also groups horses racing for the same owner at the same price. Most UK bookmakers now offer their own prices for all the top races at Longchamp so you must stipulate UK or French prices on your betting slip.
Longchamp Course Guide
Where is Longchamp Racecourse?
Longchamp Racecourse is situated in Paris between the Bois de Boulogne and the Seine. There are regular flights to Paris from all major airports in the UK. You can also travel by train via the Eurotunnel with frequent departures from Folkestone to Calais. The Eurostar train travels from London St Pancras direct to Paris Gare Du Nord in two and three-quarter hours.
Best Trainers for Longchamp
André Fabre is the most successful trainer in the history of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He recorded his eighth victory with Waldgeist in 2019 and his runners in the big race are worth considering for Longchamp tips. Alain de Royer-Dupre is another trainer worth following for your Longchamp bets while John Gosden rarely leaves the meeting empty-handed.
Best Jockeys for Longchamp
The top jockeys at Longchamp include Pierre-Charles Boudot, Mickael Barzalona and Christophe Soumillon. Frankie Dettori is always popular for Arc de Triomphe tips and is the leading jockey in the history of the race with six winners. Thierry Jarnet and Olivier Peslier have four winners apiece.
Longchamp Racecourse Contact Information
The official website of Longchamp racecourse is at France-galop.com.