WHAT had been billed as the most fascinating and complex Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in some years was reduced to a one-horse show as Treve offered up a quite astonishing performance in Paris.
Fillies have taken France’s signature race on many occasions – including the last two in Solemia and Danedream and stylishly by Zarkava in 2008 – but rarely do they assert such superiority over the colts as trainer Criquette Head-Maarek’s marvel did when obliterating Orfevre by five lengths.
All those at Longchamp on this international afternoon could only stop and admire Treve – she was even applauded sportingly by the thousands of Japanese visitors who had to settle for second best yet again – and perhaps the only person who will have been truly distressed is Frankie Dettori, who had to give the winning mount to Thierry Jarnet after breaking his ankle on Wednesday.
Now unbeaten in five starts, and subject to what is believed to be a high seven-figure transfer to Qatari owner Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani after she lifted the French Oaks, Treve has provided priceless moments to all those involved with her and, joyously, looks set to remain in training next season.
Drawn wide, Treve (9-2) was unable to get any cover and pulled her head dramatically curving around the back of the course but still appeared to have so much to offer as she rolled to the lead turning into the home straight.
All that renaissance man Jarnet needed to do was point her in the right direction as his mount was never remotely in danger while she stretched away.
Head-Maarek is already the only woman to have trained the winner of the Arc, thanks to another filly, Three Troikas back in 1979, and her latest was bred by her father, Alec.
“I want to say thank you to Frankie Dettori as he rode an amazing race on her in the Prix Vermeille. I said to save her for today and he did,” she said. “A big kiss and thank you to Frankie, I am sorry he is not here today.”
Head-Maarek added: “The way she won was incredible. She was wide the whole way and was travelling so easily, the jockey just said he just let her go. I’m surprised how well she won, as we’ve never pushed her.
“I thought she had six gears, but today she put the seventh one on.”
The humble and highly popular trainer went on: “I’m so proud for papa and for the Sheikh. When he bought her, he said ‘I want you win an Arc’. I said ‘I can’t promise but I’ll do my best’.
“I’d like to ask the Sheikh if I can give her a rest. If there’s one race for her it would be Hong Kong. I am going to speak with the Sheikh with the objective of keeping her in training next season and preparing her to win the Arc again.”
Alec Head said: “I won the Arc with two fillies, but I think she is ahead of them all.”
Jarnet, 46, secured the second of his previous Arcs way back in 1994. “It was a different era when I was riding for Andre Fabre and I’m just pleased to show I can still be effective,” Jarnet said. “This is beautiful, more in a way for the filly than for myself, as I have a strong affinity with her.”
Christophe Soumillon, distressed when Orfevre appeared to give away last year’s Arc to Solemia, felt Treve was on another level.
The Belgian did nothing wrong and the powerful chestnut, who was the 2-1 favourite but shorter in the Pari Mutuel due to his nation’s support, was a head in front of Intello and two lengths clear of his compatriot Kizuna in fourth.
“I got a good position but unfortunately the pace was not too strong,” Soumillon said. “I was trying to give him a good blow coming into the straight, but Treve took off at the 350 and we couldn’t follow her.
“I was hoping she would stop, but she didn’t. His attitude was really great, I’m very sorry for the Japanese fans, owners and trainers who want to win this beautiful race and keep finishing second.
“I think he’s a great champion, but unfortunately Treve was just too good.”
Roger Charlton’s Al Kazeem was sixth, one place in front of one of Aidan O’Brien’s two Classic winners, the Derby hero Ruler Of The World.
Ryan Moore’s mount was a little short of room but never near enough, while the supplemented St Leger winner Leading Light was 12th.
O’Brien said: “It was messy but they finished off their races well and they are two nice horses to look forward to next season.”