PARIS: Treve demolished a high class field to win yesterday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and emulate the great Zarkava in 2008 in landing the French Oaks, Prix Vermeille and Arc in the same season.
Jockey Thierry Jarnet, winning Europe’s most prestigious race for the first time since 1994, was a late replacement after intended rider Frankie Dettori cruelly fractured his ankle last week.
Criquette Head-Maarek’s unbeaten filly, a well-fancied 9-2 chance, beat Japanese favourite Orfevre by five lengths with Intello in third while the other Japanese runner Kizuna was fourth.
Treve, owned by H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, brother of the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, took control of the race with three furlongs (600 metres) remaining to open up a sizeable lead which Orfevre valiantly tried to reduce.
However, Christophe Soumillon was unable to conjure up a similar burst of acceleration from last year’s runner-up and instead he had to battle to fend off French Derby winner Intello for second.
Soumillon sportingly turned to shake Jarnet’s hand as they crossed the line.
Kizuna looked to have every chance but failed to quicken under Yutaka Take leaving Japan still without a winner in the race they dream of winning after 44 years of trying.
For Head-Maarek it was her second win in the race after Three Troikas in 1979.
“My husband turned to me at one point and said he was worried, I replied I’m not she’s cantering!” said Head-Maarek.
“At one point her head went up in the air and looked bored but she has so much class and is simply a wonder filly that she focussed and was never going to be beaten.
Asked about the seemingly bad draw in 15 she had got, Head-Maarek laughed.
“I don’t taken any notice of the numbers it is what happens on the track that means everything,” she said.
She also had words of sympathy for Dettori, who is the owner’s retained jockey and rode her to victory in the Vermeille.
“I send my love to Frankie, he looked after her in the Vermeille because he knew the Arc was the target and I send him a big kiss.”
Jarnet, 46, said: “My English is not good but this is fantastic, magic!”
Jarnet, who had a relatively fallow period following his two Arc wins, before winning the French Oaks on Treve in June before being jocked off when Dettori got the ride said he felt for the Italian but that was their way of life.
“We know in the life of a jockey where things work and some don’t this win is beautiful more for the horse than myself,” he said.
“I did think about the way my life was going at one point in terms of how failure had followed the success but in the end I love this sport too much.”
Head-Maarek said Jarnet should not think about retiring.
“I have a sister to Treve which I want you to ride!”
For Sheikh Joaan it was due reward for splashing out a reported €8m euros to then owner Alec Head -- father of Criquette and himself trainer of four Arc winners -- after she won the French Oaks in June.
Treve’s charge to the top of the racing tree is all the more remarkable considering that when she was offered for sale as a yearling no one was willing to buy her for just 22,000 euros.
Soumillon, a two-time Arc winner, said there were no excuses even though Orfevre did get held up when the field bunched up entering the straight.
“She is a great winner, there is no shame in finishing second to such a horse. My horse remains a War Machine. An honour to ride such a horse,” said the 32-year-old.
Kizuna’s trainer Shozo Sasaki said they simply didn’t have the petrol in the tank to beat the winner.
“We did everything we could, he ran his race but it wasn’t enough,” said Sasaki after yesterday’s race.AFP