Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Runners: Tarnawa Profile

Can Dermot Weld train a first Arc winner this weekend?
Can Dermot Weld train a first Arc winner this weekend?

Steve Chambers profiles the Dermot Weld-trained Tarnawa, who was last seen finishing second in the Irish Champion Stakes, and will now look to go one better when she lines up in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday afternoon...


  • Age: 5
  • Races: 16
  • Wins: 9
  • Trainer: Dermot Weld
  • Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
  • Owner: H H Aga Khan
  • Notable Race Wins: Prix Vermeille (2020), Prix de l'Opera (2020), Breeders' Cup Turf (2020)

Career Record

Unable to taste victory during her juvenile campaign (2 2nds, 1 3rd), Tarnawa has blossomed as her career has gone on, and she broke her maiden tag at the fourth time of asking, as she won a Leopardstown maiden in April 2019. A Group 3 winner in the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas a month later, Dermot Weld opted to send the daughter of Shamardal to Epsom Downs for the Oaks, but sent off at 20/1, she was unable to land any sort of blow and finished 11th of 19 in a race won by Anapurna.

It would be her four-year-old campaign that would see her rocket into the limelight, and she kicked off her four-year-old season with a Group 3 win at Cork in August 2020. Taking a huge step up in grade for her second start that season, Weld sent Tarnawa to Longchamp, where she lined up in the Prix Vermeille, and she duly produced a sparkling career best to win that Group 1 prize by three lengths.

Returning to the French racecourse a month later, Weld saddled Tarnawa in the Prix de l'Opera on Arc day, and she relished the testing going that day and she got the better of Alpine Star by the narrowest of margins to record back-to-back Group 1 wins. Continuing his globetrotting ways with his starlet, Weld sent her to America for the Breeders' Cup Turf, and she outclassed the Aidan O'Brien-trained Magical to win the coveted event by one length.

With a lofty reputation heading into the 2021 campaign, Tarnawa made her comeback in August, and she duly stormed back into the limelight with a comfortable win in the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown. She was last seen competing in a red-hot renewal of the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, where she locked horns with Aidan O'Brien's superstar St Mark's Basilica and former 2000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare, and they served up a thriller. Being carried across the track by the aforementioned St Mark's Basilica in the closing stages, Tarnawa was unable to get her head in front, but she lost nothing defeat, as her winning streak came to an end.

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Top-class form: Hugely progressive over the last couple of seasons, Tarnawa showed her class when winning the Prix de l'Opera and the Breeders' Cup Turf last season, and her epic run behind St Mark's Basilica is top notch Group 1 form. A real heavyweight on the biggest stage, Tarnawa will have to give weight to some of the three-year-olds, but she has shown she's a real class act and has to be a major player on form.

Course form: Two wins at Longchamp in the Prix Vermeille and Prix de l'Opera last season have shown that she can produce the goods at the French racecourse. The aforementioned Prix Vermeille win came over 1m 4f, so not only has she shown course form, but she's also been victorious over the Arc trip, so there's plenty of positives for the mare.


Hard Race Last Time Out: While Derby winner Adayar lines up after a lengthy break, Tarnawa will take her chance on the back of an epic duel with St Mark's Basilica in the Irish Champion Stakes a few weeks ago. In one of the races of the season, Tarnawa ran an almighty race in defeat, but the slight worry is if that race has left its mark on the mare. Hopefully, she will be able to replicate that run, and a repeat of it will see her finish on the scene, but it's questionable whether she can find the reserves again to leave it all out on the track.

How will Tarnawa fare in the 2021 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe?

A real class act, Tarnawa is entitled to be a market leader for the Arc, and having ran a huge race in defeat in the Irish Champion Stakes she has to be on the punter's shortlist for the event. Having shown she can produce the goods at Group 1 level last season at Longchamp, the Prix de l'Opera heroine will be a major challenger for the honours and will be hoping to hand Dermot Weld his first Arc win.

Verdict: Major challenger

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Tarnawa silk


2021 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Odds
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