Ace Impact earned a Timeform rating of 133p after his hugely impressive victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday, which places him at the top of Timeform’s European standings and second behind only Equinox (135) among the world’s best.
Westover had previously been Timeform’s highest-rated horse in Europe but, while he ran well in second, he had no answer to the brilliant turn of foot by the French trained three-year-old colt.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s unbeaten son of Cracksman was a strong favourite on the back of a perfect five from five record that included the French Derby, had only three rivals behind him as the field turned into the straight.
However, once switched for his run, he picked up powerfully down the outside of the field, going on to win comfortably. The official margin was a length and three-quarters, but it could have been further as jockey Cristian Demuro saluted the crowd before the winning post.
His performance is rated as the best since Enable was so impressive when landing her first Arc in 2017. Ace Impact became the first French-based three-year-old colt to claim the Arc since 2006, and it was his first start over a mile and a half.
The big question is whether we will ever see this champion on a racetrack again as he has won a Classic Gr1, French Derby, over ten-furlongs, and now has Europe’s highest rated Gr1 event for 3-year-olds and older, the Arc over a mile and a half on his CV.
For racing fans the world over, it would be fantastic to see him compete against the Japanese superstar Equinox before they both retire.
Following another brave runner-up placing by Westover, his trainer Ralph Beckett is eyeing a run at the Breeders’ Cup next month.
The son of Frankel, who was an Irish Derby winner, won the Gr1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in July, but has shown remarkable consistency this season finishing second in his other four starts. Runner-up behind Equinox at Meydan in March, he then had the ground go against him at Epsom when a length and three-quarters behind Emily Upjohn at Epsom before being headed at the finish in the King George by Hukum at Ascot.
Beckett could not hide his pride in his charge who has now earnt a trip to Santa Anita.
“What a run, I’m delighted.” said Beckett. “He seemed a bit lazy out of the gate and then has got his place. At the top of the straight I thought we were in business, but there was just one better.”
He went on: “I always fancied the Breeders’ Cup Turf for him because he’s a horse who enjoys his time away, as we saw in Dubai. So I’ve always kind of fancied that for him.”
Westover hung onto second, a short-head in front of a fast-finishing Onesto. The French trained four-year-old, a 50/1 longshot, was narrowly denied by Luxembourg in last year’s Irish Champion Stakes but had lost that level of form this year.
The Fabrice Chappet trained runner would have finished second in another stride on Sunday and looks set to re-oppose Westover at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup Turf next month.