TREVE headed off to a glorious retirement after bouncing back to her brilliant best to successfully defend her crown in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.
Criquette Head-Maarek’s filly was a stunning winner of Europe’s premier middle-distance contest 12 months ago but had endured a largely forgettable four-year-old campaign prior to her return to Paris.
However, with Thierry Jarnet in the saddle once again, Treve looked much more like her old self, travelling powerfully into the straight towards the far rail.
The field were spread right across the track but, once Jarnet pushed the button as the gap came, Treve showed her stunning acceleration to seal a fantastic victory, becoming the first horse since Alleged in 1977 and 1978 to win back-to-back Arcs.
Andre Fabre’s Flintshire was best of the rest in second, ahead of Oaks and King George heroine Taghrooda and St Leger winner Kingston Hill.
John Gosden’s Taghrooda and the Roger Varian-trained Kingston Hill both emerged with plenty of credit having been drawn very wide.
Harry Herbert, racing advisor to Sheikh Joaan’s Al Shaqab operation, which sponsored the race, confirmed Treve would now be retired.
He said: “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.
“It’s one of the great training performances. We all know it’s not easy to bring a filly back in her four-year-old year and to have the knocks along the way – there’s been issues along the way. And for Qatar – she carries the flag of a nation with her.
“It was a remarkable performance, a brilliant ride and we don’t see animals like this very often.
“She’ll be retired now, for sure. She has nothing more to prove.
“She’s proved to a few doubters that she is back and as brilliant as ever.
“I think now it’s off to the Sheikh’s stud farm in Normandy and deciding who will be the lucky husband, or husband number one!
“To be involved with something like this is fantastic, especially as she has come back from adversity.
“I don’t think we can quite believe what we have just seen.”
Head-Maarek said: “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, but today she proved she’s come back to her best.
“Last year I felt she was going to win. This year I was bringing a horse that was not 100 per cent.
“When I saw her going into the false straight, I said ‘we’re going to win’. She’s was going so easily.
“We had a fantastic race. We were along the rail and everything was open in front of her. She’s got that fantastic turn of foot and that’s what she’s shown again.
“For me, she’s a very special horse and Sheikh Joaan was so nice with me because he could have lost faith.
“After the Vermeille I told him ‘please don’t rule her out. Let’s run in the Arc and see [what happens]’. She’s proved it.
“She is a dream for a trainer.”
Varian was thrilled with the performance of Kingston Hill, who is known to prefer softer ground.
He said: “I’m dead pleased with him, it was a big run, especially on that ground. What will this horse achieve when he gets the soft?
“Both horse and jockey [Andrea Atzeni] gave 100 per cent. He will stay in training and has a lot of options.
“He will be a great horse to have around for another couple of years.”
Rider Paul Hanagan said of Taghrooda, who was quickly led away to the stables by Gosden: “It was a bit tricky being drawn 15, as I had to use her to make up the ground.
“She has run a fantastic race. I had to get after her, just to get a good position, and then all of a sudden I just saw this flash on my inside. She’s some horse, that Treve.”