Tarnawa being primed for possible Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe bid

Weld says Breeders’ Cup winner ‘in great form’ and set for a return to competitive action in August

Last year's Breeders' Cup heroine Tarnawa will return to action in August en route to a planned attempt on the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Trainer Dermot Weld is considering either the Give Thanks Stakes at Cork or the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown – both over a mile and a half – for the star mare who memorably completed a Group One hat-trick last autumn in the Breeders Cup Turf at Keeneland.

Aidan O’Brien’s exciting pair of fillies, Snowfall and Love, top the Arc betting after impressive victories this month in the Epsom Oaks and Royal Ascot’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes respectively.

In comparison Tarnawa has been something of a forgotten part of an outstanding triumvirate of Irish fillies and mares although only marginally trailing the Ballydoyle pair in most Arc betting lists.


Last season Weld brought Tarnawa back to action in August, winning her second Give Thanks in a row before twice scoring at the top level in France in the Prix Vermeille and then the Prix de l’Opera on Arc day.

The Aga Khan-owned daughter of Shamardal then gave her trainer a first Breeders Cup success when scoring under replacement rider Colin Keane in the US.

A similar autumn strategy is planned this season although this time the Irish Champion Stakes in September could be included en route to a tilt at Europe's greatest all-aged race.

“She’s back in training, in great form, and I’m happy with her in every way.

“She came back from Gilltown [Aga Khan’s stud] where she did pre-training looking magnificent. She will start in early August, either in Cork in the Give Thanks, or in the Ballyroan at Leopardstown the same week.

“Either one of those is the plan and then we’ll see where to go. We will look at the Irish Champion Stakes as well,” Weld said on Tuesday.

The renowned international trainer has yet to win the Arc and isn’t underestimating the task ahead of Tarnawa against an exceptional group of fillies and mares.

“There are some outstanding fillies around. I thought Love put in an excellent performance on her first run back in the Prince of Wales.

“I thought the filly that won the Hardwicke [Wonderful Tonight] was very impressive but you must remember Tarnawa beat her last year.

“You would have to say the filly that won the Epsom Oaks [Snowfall] was spectacular. It’s a year of very, very high quality,” he said.

Tarnawa and Love are rated equally by the handicapper on marks of 122. Their younger rival, Snowfall, is rated 120.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column