Longchamp, France // Treve could not attract a buyer when put through auction as a yearling but Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad’s filly is now priceless after she unleashed an extraordinary turn of foot to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Treve blitzed one of the strongest Arc fields in years with a burst of speed that had Orfevre, last year’s runner-up and overwhelming favourite, floundering five lengths back in second. Intello was a neck adrift in third, while Kizuna, who accompanied Orfevre from Japan, was fourth.
Such was the imperious nature of Treve’s success that trainer Criquette Head-Maarek held talks with Sheikh Joaan last night to persuade him to keep the three-year-old filly in training.
“It was a surprise to me because we have never pushed her,” Head-Maarek said of her unbeaten charge. “Today she showed she had seven gears - I thought she had six. When she left them she made it look so easy.
“I will ask Sheikh Joaan about keeping her as a four your old as I want to come back here next year and win the Arc again.”
Alleged was the last Arc winner to return to Longchamp to successfully defend his crown but that was in 1978, the year before Head-Maarek trained Three Troikas to post her only previous Arc triumph.
Alec Head, the father of the winning trainer who has four winners of the Arc to his name, believes that the filly he bred at his Haras du Quesnay stud could match Alleged’s greatness.
“I’ve have trained some good fillies in my time but this one is above them all,” he said.
It was not as if yesterday’s €4.8million contest was an easy assignment. Thierry Jarnet was drafted in to replace Frankie Dettori on Treve only on Wednesday night, after the former Godolphin rider suffered an ankle injury.
Two days later Treve was drawn wide in stall 15 of 18 at the post position ceremony and although Head-Maarek was confident Treve would prevail from any starting berth no horse had emerged from such a wide starting stall since Dalakhani in 2003.
Sure enough Jarnet found himself positioned wide as Joshua Tree, the former Dubai World Cup Carnival runner and dual Group 1 performer, cut out the running under Richard Hughes.
Jarnet struggled to get his mount to settle but Treve made steady progress on the outside before her 46-year-old rider felt the time was to go for home.
Treve’s turn of foot had been showcased in the Prix de Diane and the Prix Vermeille in the lead-in to the Arc, but as Dettori had warned earlier in the week Treve had matured and her acceleration was instant.
Treve skipped a few lengths clear in a matter of strides and as she turned into the straight the final two furlongs were essentially a procession to crown the third filly or mare in succession to win the 12-furlong contest. Jarnet, who later won the Prix de La Foret on Moonlight Cloud, afforded himself time to pull up and celebrate his third Arc win approaching the line.
“I am delighted that at this age I can still be effective,” Jarnet said.
“I was delighted to ride Treve again. As for Frankie, we know this happens in the life of a jockey. You have days when things work out and when they do not.
“I have thought about retiring at times but you just keep going.”
It was at the Arqana sale in October 2011 that Treve was lead out of the sales ring having failed to attract a buyer. Alec Head was so disgusted that he bought the filly back for €22,000. It would be a struggle to prise Treve away now from Sheikh Joaan, who sees her as a foundation broodmare for his burgeoning thoroughbred empire.
“If she had made around €60,000 I might have let her go,” Alec Head added.