With German favorite, Danedream, confined to her stables in Cologne, the season ending Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe horse race in France was up for grabs.
An unusually open race was won in a close finish by another filly, the French horse Solemia. She narrowly beat the Japanese raider, Orfevre.
The winning horse, Solemia, trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias and ridden by Olivier Peslier, went into the race a forty-to-one outsider in the betting.
Japanese Triple Crown raider Orfevre, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, started as one of the pre-race favorites and only just failed to take the race, coming in second in a close fought finish to the line.
"You need a real champion to win the Arc, who is efficient over a mile as well as over a mile and a half as you need speed and stamina, and he must be easy to handle," Soumillon said.
Winner of the Epsom Derby, Camelot, came in seventh.
The four-year-old German filly, Danedream, won the race last year and then added Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes to her tally in July.
Danedream is trained at a Cologne racecourse, which is now under strict quarantine following the detection of a case of swamp fever last week. Officially known as Equine Infectious Anaemia, it can cause fever, anaemia, emaciation and death.
A spokesman for French racing's governing body, France Galop, said: "There is a quarantine period of 90 days." For that reason, Danedream could not compete on Sunday.
jm/slk (AFP, Reuters)