The brilliant Belgian teamed up with the Dermot Weld-trained mare to win both the Prix Vermeille and Prix de l’Opera last term and was due to be aboard Tarnawa at the Breeders’ Cup before a failed Covid-19 test scuppered his participation.
Colin Keane stepped in for Soumillon at Keeneland and steered Taranawa to a length victory, staying in the saddle for her two runs so far this year.
The five-year-old won the Ballyroan Stakes on her reappearance, and lost little in defeat to St Mark’s Basilica in an epic Irish Champion Stakes, beaten three-quarters of a length after the pair came close in the finish.
Soumillon – in Group One-winning form on Saturday with Perfect Power – will be on the daughter of Shamardal at ParisLongchamp, as he is the retained rider in France for owner the Aga Khan. And he can hardly wait.
"My filly, she's a superstar," he said. "There is nothing bad to say about her, although she can give us some stress in front of the gates when she does not want to go in. [Once racing] she's very honest and it's amazing how she can finish her races.
Of the opposition, he said: "I really like Charlie Appleby's horses [Adayar and Hurricane Lane]. They look really strong and, for me, if you have a really good three-year-old you have a big advantage at the weights, and it's always very difficult, especially on soft going, to make up ground giving a lot of weight.
Soumillon won the Arc for the Aga Khan with both Dalakhani (2003) and the magnificent filly Zarkarva (2008), and Tarnawa is the 5-2 favourite to make it a hat-trick for the team.
He said at Newmarket on Saturday: “Tarnawa is a great filly. I was very lucky to ride her twice last year in Longchamp and won on her twice.
“I was really pleased with her first run this season and last time she ran really great. Unfortunately, she got beat probably by the distance (10 furlongs) and the winner hung a bit towards her.
“Dermot Weld is probably one of the greatest trainers in the world and I’m sure he focussed on that race (the Arc) 200 per cent.
“For the Aga Khan team and His Highness himself, I’d be delighted to bring back another Arc trophy.”
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