Mumty's Madness

Witnessing greatness

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(Photo by Getty Images)

There is nothing like a truly brilliant filly to cheer one's spirits. At Longchamp today, the undefeated three year-old filly Zarkava raced into the history books, winning the Arc decisively over a tough field including the likes of Duke Of Marmalade (5 time Group 1 winner who was undefeated this season), Youmzain (a G1 winner and usually G1 placed runner who was second in last year's Arc), Soldier of Fortune (winner of the G1 Irish Derby and Coronation Cup), and Meisho Sampson (hero of Japan and supreme distance horse), to name a few.

Going into the race today, Zarkava had scored six wins, 4 of them in G1 events, including the prestigious Prix Marcel Boussac Royal Barriere de Deauville for two year-old fillies, the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (the French 1000 Guineas), and the Prix de Diane (the French Oaks). Just three weeks ago, she conquered older mares in the G1 Prix Vermeille. In all of these races, she won as she pleased and no horse finished within 2 lengths of her.

Having defeated everything her own sex could throw at her, the Aga Khan entered her in the Arc, a race that has not been won by a filly since 1993 (Urban Sea) and that has not been won by a three year-old filly since 1982 (Akiyda, also an Aga Khan filly). Zarkava started as the favorite, and though she broke pretty well, she was still shuffled to the back of the field of 16 for much of the race. As the horses wheeled into the three furlong stretch, Zarkava was trapped on the rail behind a wall of horses and looked doomed. Her jockey pointed her to the narrowest of openings with less than a quarter mile to run, and the filly didn't hesitate to surge through. As soon as she was clear, Zarkava stormed to the lead, much the best and won going away by two lengths. It was breathtaking performance, one for the ages.

Interestingly, Zarkava descends tail-female from the great grey mare Petite Etoile through her only daughter Zahra. Etoile herself descends in the female line from the Flying Filly, Mumtaz Mahal, and it is only fitting therefore that Zarkava takes up her crown as the modern day Flying Filly, as she was dubbed earlier today.

For those who haven't seen it, here it is on Youtube. It's in French, so look for the filly trapped on the rail in the 16 cloth with the jockey in green silks with red stripes on the shoulders.

Exceptional, indeed.

Updated 10-05-2008 at 08:22 PM by mumtaz



  1. HorseChick's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing this! I didn't understand a word of it but it was exciting to watch :grin

    What a fantastic filly!