Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Outbreak thwarts Danedream's Arc defence

By Alysen Miller, CNN
updated 11:07 AM EDT, Tue October 2, 2012
 Andrasch Starke celebrates on Danedream after winning the 2011 Prix De L´Arc De Triomphe at Longchamps. Andrasch Starke celebrates on Danedream after winning the 2011 Prix De L´Arc De Triomphe at Longchamps.
Danedream's biggest triumph
Champion jockey
Wonder horse
  • Danedream withdrawn from Prix de l'Arc Triomphe after equine infection of the blood outbreak
  • German filly won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July
  • Danedream also won a second successive Grosser Preis von Baden Baden in September
  • Alleged was the last horse to win successive Arc races in 1977 and 1978

(CNN) -- Danedream's hopes of becoming the first horse in more than three decades to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in successive years have been thwarted by a health scare.

The defending champion had to forfeit her place in this year's race after the outbreak of equine infectious anaemia at a racing yard in the German city of Cologne, where Danedream is trained.

Although the infected horse is stabled at a different yard to Danedream, Germany veterinary authorities have placed the entire area on lockdown for three months, meaning the German filly will not be able to make the trip to Paris.

Speaking from his Asterbluete stables in Cologne, Danedream's trainer Peter Schiergen confirmed his horse was fit but that they were 'absolutely shocked' at the news.

"Danedream is safe and well," Schiergen told CNN. "She worked yesterday morning and then came the news that the veterinary office had closed the track for three months.

Reactions: Danedream's big win
Chasing the next Danedream

"The case is not in the yard where Danedream is but at another yard in the area."

Equine infectious anaemia -- also known as swamp fever -- is a disease that is transmitted by bloodsucking insects.

It can be passed from horse to horse through bodily fluids as well as contaminated stable equipment such as syringes and bits and, although fatalities are extremely rare, the disease can cause chronic tiredness as well as recurrent fever and anaemia, sometimes up to several years after the original attack.

After Danedream's Arc success last year, which saw her smash a strong international field to take the course record, the German filly won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July, becoming the first German-trained horse to win Europe's two most prestigious all-age races.

Last month she also successfully defended her title in the Grosser Preis von Baden -- one of Europe's traditional Arc trials.

That run of form had placed Danedream among the favorites for Sunday's renewal at Longchamp, where she would be aiming to emulate Alleged's 1977 and 1978 victories.

Camelot: No ordinary horse
Breeding ground of champions

She would also have become the first filly to successfully defend the Arc since Corrida in 1937.

Read: Germany's wonder mare Danedream prepares for final challenges

The German filly is the latest horse to pull out of Sunday's showpiece event.

Arguably England's best chance in the race, Ed Dunlop's Snow Fairy, has been ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining a slight injury in her last serious training session, while earlier this year Prix de Diane winner and early Arc favourite Valrya was put down after breaking a leg in a freak training accident.

Aiden O'Brien is expected to make a final decision on 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby champion Camelot's participation in the coming days.

The three-year-old, who narrowly missed winning the English Triple Crown when he was beaten in the St Leger, will be certainly be without regular jockey Joseph O'Brien as the teenager is unable to make the required weight.

That leaves the 18-strong field wide open for Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre, who is favorite to become the first ever Japanese winner of this race.

Last year's runner-up Shareta and English colt Nathaniel, narrowly beaten by Danedream in the King George, are tipped to be Orfevre's chief rivals.

A huge contingent of traveling Japanese fans and journalists is expected to watch the race at Longchamp Racecourse on Sunday.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:41 AM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Sculptures in driftwood
You may have heard of Glorious Goodwood, but what about glorious driftwood? Meet the artist turning beach detritus into stunning sculptures.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
He's won six Olympic medals on two legs, but Bode Miller's future will ride on four -- can he replicate his skiing success in the "Sport of Kings"?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
As a jockey, Philip Blacker lived for the thrills and spills of horse racing. As a sculptor, his work captures the horror of World War I.
updated 11:12 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Ever thought zebras couldn't be tamed? Think again. Gary Witheford has a remarkable way with wild animals -- which he proved after a pub boast.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
The internet went wild for so-called "horse yoga" -- but there was something deeper going on that reconnects humans with the animal world.
updated 9:23 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
The going is always soft and the only permanent building is a toilet block. It's the antithesis to the pomp of Royal Ascot ... welcome to Irish beach racing.
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Each August, over a thousand tents and hundreds of horses converge on Little Big Horn River in Montana for the Crow Fair and Rodeo.
updated 5:57 AM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
Show me the money! Hollywood star Tom Cruise was a big hit when he visited the Glorious Goodwood festival.
updated 8:41 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Little-known outside the tribes of the Rocky Mountains in the American northwest, Indian Relay is a "magical" horse-racing relay.
updated 9:25 AM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Now in his 50s, one of the world's most successful jockeys explains why he gave up acting to return to the sport that nearly crippled him.
Winning Post's Francesca Cumani is impressed by the all-round multitasking skills of Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien.
updated 4:53 AM EDT, Sat June 7, 2014
 An infrared camera was used to create this image.) A horse and exercise rider head to the main track for morning training at Belmont Park on June 4, 2014 in Elmont, New York.
More people have walked on the moon than have won the fabled Triple Crown of U.S. horse racing. California Chrome is seeking to square that score.
updated 7:37 AM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
A long history of controversy made him the "enfant terrible" of horse racing, but veteran jockey Kieren Fallon is looking for redemption.