Longchamp Racecourse or, in French, Hippodrome de Longchamp, is set in 57 hectares on the outskirts of the French capital, Paris, between the Bois de Boulogne and the River Seine. Horse racing first took place at Longchamp in 1857, but nowadays the racecourse with the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, run over 2,400 metres (just over a mile and a half) on the first Sunday in October each year. In total, Longchamp Racecourse stages 29 Flat fixtures between April and October, which include no fewer than 16 Group 1 races.
Longchamp Racecourse is famous for its variety of interlaced courses, ranging in length from 1,000 metres (approximately five furlongs) to 2,750 metres (approximately a mile and threequarters). The 2,400 metre course is characterised by a hill, which climbs to a height of 30 metres, or nearly 100 feet, alongside the Bois De Boulogne and the so-called false straight, fully 800 metres (approximately half a mile) from the winning post. With the exception of the straight 1,000 metre course, on which the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp is run, all the courses at Longchamp are right-handed.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was first run in 1920 to celebrate the Allied victory in World War I.
The last horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice was Alleged, trained by Vincent O’Brien and ridden by Lester Piggott, in 1978.
Frankie Dettori, winner of the British Flat Jockeys’ Championship in 1994, 1995 and 2004, was handed a six-month by the France Galop, the French racing authority, after testing positive for cocaine while riding at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trials meeting at Longchamp in September 2012.