By Jon Lees
Germany: Rene Piechulek is hoping to use his new-found fame to ride overseas over the winter after guiding Germany’s Torquator Tasso to one of the biggest upset wins in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe history.
The 34-year-old Piechulek realised “the greatest moment of my career” when the Marcel Weiss-trained, Gestut Auenquelle-owned colt stunned ParisLongchamp by defeating Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane at pari-mutuel odds of 72-1.
“It’s just been amazing,” said the jockey who is now back home in Munich. “I think I have woken up now!”
Riding in the Arc for the first time, Piechulek said the key factor in his triumph, in the 100th edition of Europe’s richest race, was the ground.
Reliving the race, he said: *I had a great ride. The night before I was at dinner with the trainer when we talked about the race and what we would do.
“He was drawn 12 and I wanted to stay in the outside lane and not go between horses. When we reached the stretch I had a great feeling. He was travelling so well. In the last three furlongs he was going quicker and quicker and in the last furlong I knew I was going to win.”
The four-year-old son of the late Adlerflug beat Tarnawa by three-quarters of a length with Hurricane Lane another short head back and Derby winner Adayar fourth. “The atmosphere was amazing,” Piechulek added. “When I crossed the line everyone was screaming.
“We beat the top horses but I think we were very lucky on the day because the ground was heavy. Torquator Tasso loves heavy ground. The day before it was raining all day and all night. That was perfect for me and my horse.
“Most of the top horses had put up good performances on good or good to soft or soft, but not heavy ground.”
Piechulek didn’t start riding until he began his apprenticeship aged 16, his only previous experience of horses provided by the two Friesians owned by his parents.
And having with the Arc becoming only his third G1 win, he has taken on board the post-race advice he received from Frankie Dettori. “He said ‘Buddy, enjoy the moment’. That’s in my head now.”
Connections have decided to decline a Japan Cup invitation for Torquator Tasso yet announced he will stay in training to target a second Arc. Piechulek is considering his own winter options.
“I have tried to get a licence for the winter season somewhere, maybe to Dubai,” he said. ”We will see what happens.”
At least international jurisdictions will now know who he is.
“There are so many jockeys that haven’t been able to do what I have,” he said. “I was given the chance and I did it.”