With six victories from six starts in 2023, Ace Impact went through the year unbeaten. On the final start of his career, he won the most prestigious open-age contest in Europe, landing the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.
Ace Impact has been crowned Cartier Horse of the Year, also receiving the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award 👏🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/yv902Yux6z
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) November 10, 2023
The French-trained colt ended the year as the Cartier Award of the Year, a prize handed to some of the best Flat horses in the history of the sport. Here is a look back at his career on the track.
Retired to Stud
Ace Impact will not get the chance to defend his crown in the Arc in 2024 as he has been retired to stud. It means Champion Two-Year-Old City Of Troy is the +1000 favorite in the bet on horses market for the premier middle-distance turf race in Europe.
ACE IMPACT IS AMAZING IN THE QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE! 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/UdOsjHMJbK
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 1, 2023
Only eight horses in history have won the Arc more than once, including Treve and Enable, two fillies who managed that feat in the last 20 years. To go down as one of the greatest in history, many critics will suggest the son of Cracksman needed to conquer the French race again.
As ever when a horse of Ace Impact’s ability retires for a career in stud, excitement then builds towards the future. The likes of Sea The Stars, Frankel and Churchill have all had major success with their offspring on the track and those involved with Ace Impact will be hoping their horse can also produce champions of the future.
Ace Impact Announced Himself with French Derby Success
Although it is his Arc success that Ace Impact will be remembered for, it was his French Derby triumph at Chantilly that indicated he could be the best of his age group. Jean-Claude Rouget’s runner stretched away from his rivals in the closing stages of the Prix du Jockey Club to score by just over three lengths.
The success at Chantilly left his connections with several options for the rest of the season. They opted to take on the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville and although he landed the top prize, he was made to work hard in the race.
When he prevailed at Longchamp in the Arc, Ace Impact became the first French Derby winner to win the race since the French Classic was reduced to 1m2f in 2005.
No Royal Ascot or Breeders’ Cup Appearance
There can be no doubt that Ace Impact has one of the best three-year-old campaigns in recent history. However, the one disappointment that racing fans will have is that he never proved himself at a major international event outside of France. Royal Ascot and the Breeders’ Cup meetings are two of the biggest in the world and a victory at either of those events would have made a huge difference to his legacy.
Rouget did consider sending his Arc winner to Japan for one of the leading races at the Japan Cup meeting in November. However, it was decided his career would end with his special performance at Longchamp.
With the 2024 Flat season set to begin in March, horse racing fans will be hoping another star emerges in Europe this year to fill the void left by Ace Impact’s retirement.