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Arc day to be the richest in Europe; Five Group 1 races and pounds 1.5m prize-money in reshuffle.

THE Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp in October has been reshuffled to make Arc day itself the richest single day's racing in Europe, with a card featuring five Group 1 contests.

The move has come about as a result of Arc sponsor Lucien Barriere throwing its weight behind the event, and providing a massive prize-money boost for both the big race and the supporting card.

From this year, the Arc, won in dramatic fashion last season by dual Derby hero Montjeu, will spearhead a Sunday card that includes the Prix de l'Abbaye and Prix Marcel Boussac, and also the long-distance Prix du Cadran and newly upgraded Prix de

l'Opera, which are normally staged a day earlier.

Prize-money for the card, to be staged on October 1, will total Ff15.8 million (pounds 1.52 million), with the Arc itself carrying added prize-money of Ff10.5 million (pounds 1m), of which Ff6 million (pounds 576,000) will go to the winner.

The boost means the purse for the Arc, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, has risen 50 per cent in the last two years.

Lucien Barriere, the leading French casino and hotel group, has added its name to all the major races on Arc day. The sponsorship is seen as part of the company's plan to one day run a casino at Longchamp, which could be the first such establishment to be licensed in Paris.

Last month, Groupe Partouche was granted a licence to operate a casino at Lyon. It was the first time such a permit had been granted to a French city with a population of over 500,000.

This year's Arc promises to be a major draw for racing fans all over the world, with the John Hammond-trained Montjeu scheduled to attempt to become the first dual winner of the race since Alleged completed the feat for Vincent O'Brien and Lester Piggott in 1987 and 1988.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Stoneham, Desmond
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 17, 2000
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