treve triumph tres magnifique
Filly makes it back-to-back Arcs proving doubters wrong
It was a season that could be described as nothing other than disappointing for Treve and the faith which her trainer Criquette Head-Maarek stored in the filly seemed extremely questionable. All was answered at Longchamp yesterday, though.
Time and time again Head-Maarek insisted that we, the general public, would see a different Treve on the first Sunday of October. She didn't convince many and at times struggled to even convince the filly's owners but they left it in her hands and yet again the first lady of French racing proved just why her legacy in the sport will be remembered for generations.
It was widely recognised as a wide open renewal of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe which was worth a cool €5million this year, with the title of the most valuable race on turf anywhere in the world. However, the winner and much written-off Treve decided to turn it into a precession.
Treve was scintillating when winning the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last year and whether she was equally as impressive or possibly even more so on this occasion matters not one bit as the simple fact is that the four-year-old joined an elite group of horses to win the race in consecutive years.
The winning trainer said afterwards: "When you bring your horse to the racecourse it's because you think you're going to win, but with all the problems that we've had, everyone was saying she shouldn't run, she should go to stud, she's cooked...
"I've had so many things said, but today she proved she's come back to her best."
Head-Maarek added: "Last year I was sure she was going to win. This year I was bringing a horse that was not 100 per cent.
"But when I saw her going into the false straight, I said 'we're going to win'. She's was going so easily."
Harry Herbert, the racing manager to Sheikh Joaan's Al Shaqab operation, admitted: "It's one of the great training performances.
"If we had all listened to Criquette along the way none of us would be surprised today.
"Her work earlier this week gave Criquette confidence that she might just do this, but to do it how she's done it against a top-class field, to spreadeagle them two years running - it's absolutely phenomenal."
Treve will now be retired to stud and the decision of which sire she will be covered by will be one of the most anticipated in the bloodstock world and her trainer, who herself has no intention of retiring, concluded by summing Treve up: "She's amazing. She's a dream for a trainer."
Head-Maarek was completing a Group One double on Arc day as she had earlier claimed the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere in the Stewards Room at the expense of Aidan O'Brien's Gleneagles.
The Joseph O'Brien-ridden Gleneagles was first past the post in the juvenile contest and he had looked to extend his sequence to five in a row but after some slight interference in the closing stages, the result was changed and Gleneagles was demoted to third place behind Head-Maarek's Full Mast.
Initially after the race, Head-Maarek admitted "the best horse won today" and added "I would never claim, so the stewards must know what to do", but the powers that be overturned the result denying Aidan O'Brien a double after the two-year-old filly Found had earlier won the Prix Marcel Boussac under Ryan Moore with Jessica Harrington's Jack Naylor running a nice race back in third.
O'Brien said of Found: "She is a lovely big filly, with a temperament to match, and I would think she will have no trouble getting a mile and a quarter and maybe a mile and a half, as she is by Galileo."
Reflecting on Gleneagles' demotion, O'Brien said: "Joseph said he didn't think he touched the other horse, and that it happened very late. He'd gone by the second at the time, but he is a horse who after quickening up well doesn't do a lot when he gets there."
Both Found and Gleneagles were cut for their respective Classics with Boylesports offering now 8/1 from 16/1 for the Epsom Oaks for the former and the English 1000 Guineas for the latter, while Found is 8/1 from 12/1 for the 2000 Guineas with Gleneagles 14/1 from 20/1 for the Epsom Derby.