Treve Chases Arc Hat-Trick

Treve is one of just seven horses to have won the Arc twice.


Treve wins the Arc

Her trainer insists should Treve secure an unprecedented hat-trick of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victories it will make the French superstar racing’s greatest ever female thoroughbred: the status Treve already holds is that few if any are quibbling with such an assertion.

Even for a race long established as Europe’s greatest all-age contest, and acclaimed as a supreme test of equine greatness, it could well be truly landmark stuff at Longchamp come 3.00 on Sunday.

Treve is one of just seven horses to have won the Arc twice. Prior to her just two managed it in 60 years; the peerless Italian, Ribot, in 1955-56 and Vincent O’Brien’s great champion Alleged in 1977-78.

Flat racing’s economic realities make it extremely rare for an Arc-winning colt not to be immediately despatched to stud a la Sea The Stars or Dancing Brave. Montjeu tried to retain the title and failed. Mill Reef got injured before he could try. Nijinsky couldn’t win it once.

So the decision to persist with Treve for a third Arc has to be taken in the context of her sex. But the context of what she’s still a hot favourite to achieve also includes her eclipsing the very finest names European racing has ever thrown up.

Criquette Head-Maarek was acclaimed for rejuvenating Treve’s injury-blighted 2014 campaign but a hat-trick will lift the mare onto a unique pedestal which will make the trainer’s ‘greatest ever’ statement more substantial than most ‘G-O-A-T’ claims.

Treve’s contrastingly silk-smooth 2015 continued with a perfect midfield draw in stall eight for Sunday’s €5 million highlight, unlike the Derby hero Golden Horn who is boxed wide.

John Gosden

John Gosden – far from surprised

That provoked his trainer John Gosden into an uncharacteristically non-diplomatic suggestion that he was far from surprised at such a draw, stirring in some old-fashioned Anglo-French ‘frisson’ to proceedings which will only add to the anticipation.

In the midst of it all, the fact that Treve’s jockey, Thierry Jarnet, is on the verge of a record fifth Arc for a rider has become almost an afterthought: not to mention the hardly impossible scenario of an epic Arc face-to-face between the best of France and Britain with Frankie Dettori, jocked-off Treve last year, let’s not forget, on board Golden Horn.

It’s all a wonderfully intriguing prospect and in the circumstances Ireland’s triple-Arc assault has gone under the radar.

Dylan Thomas is one of just six Irish-trained horses ever to win the race and Aidan O’Brien is double-handed this time with Found and Tapestry.

Ryan Moore - rides Found

Ryan Moore – rides Found

Not surprisingly Ryan Moore has opted for Found, tackling a mile and a half for the first time, but who split both Golden Horn and her Dermot Weld-trained rival, Free Eagle, in the Irish Champion Stakes three weeks ago.

Found has had something of a classic French Arc preparation, missing most of the summer, and consequently will be fresher than some, although not as much as Tapestry who had a first race since last year’s Arc failure three weeks ago.

Found is no back-number in this but in such a quality renewal it is worth remembering how just a pair of three year old fillies have landed the Arc in the last 30 years: Treve herself, and another exceptional talent in Zarkava. Is Found in that class?

Steps up

Free Eagle is no back-number either if he steps up to a mile and a half. He got wiped out at Leopardstown by Golden Horn but looked to be held at the time. Pat Smullen has always insisted though he is a mile and a half colt. If he’s right, Free Eagle has the ground conditions to surprise more than a few.

It all could come down however to what, if anything, can surprise Treve. But on a day with records lined up to be skittled by the favourite, it could be the ultimate Arc record-holder who ultimately emerges best.

Andre Fabre

Andre Fabre

Andre Fabre is out on his own with seven Arcs and French racing’s dominant trainer reckons New Bay holds outstanding claims.

Proven at the trip, and on the back of a classic French Arc prep, New Bay’s bare form claims have been knocked.

But on a line through Aidan O’Brien’s Highland Reel, he doesn’t have that much to find. Fabre reckons he can find that, and maybe more.

And even with the two-time champion Treve in the field, Fabre in the Arc convinces more than anyone.

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