Arc shake-up after Treve eclipsed in trials

Treve’s already perilous grip on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe favouritism was firmly loosened at Longchamp yesterday as Criquette Head-Maarek’s star could finish only fourth in the Prix Vermeille.

Arc shake-up after Treve eclipsed in trials

On an Arc trials day full of surprises, last year’s Arc heroine was reunited with Thierry Jarnet for a prep race she won 12 months ago under Frankie Dettori, and travelled well enough at the rear of the field in the reasonably quick conditions for much of the way.

The four-year-old made progress wide into the straight, from where she held every chance.

William Buick, meanwhile, was still at the head of affairs on Pomology, as he had been from an early stage, and although Treve did make some ground to the furlong and a half point she was not given an overly hard time when her chance had gone.

Andre Fabre’s Baltic Baroness sneaked up the rail and just came out on top from Pomology after quite a battle through the final furlong, and could be supplemented for the Arc.

Treve was eased with all the bookmakers for a repeat Arc success, with Taghrooda, Just A Way, Avenir Certain and Ectot all vying for market leadership.

Head-Maarek said: “The filly had a few problems and it might be that she is not the same filly as she was last year.

“She made a good effort, she gave weight away and finished not too far back and you have to remember that after the race in England (Prince of Wales’s Stakes) she was literally stopped for a whole month (with a muscle problem), she was being walked.

“Personally I would like to see her in the Arc and I will do everything I can so she can be at the start of the Arc. I am hoping the ground will be a little bit softer.”

“The decision shouldn’t be made hastily, you have to see her again after the race.

“There might be some fine-tuning that can be done and she would be much better suited to it being softer.”

Al Shaqab Racing supremo Sheikh Joaan Al Thani confirmed the intention remained to run Treve in the Arc.

He said: “Treve has proved that she is a great filly, she has nothing to prove.

“She is still staying in the Arc, nothing is going to change.

“She is a great filly, she won her Arc so I don’t think there is a point in being disappointed.”

Sheikh Joaan purchased a half-share in Ectot recently and was delighted to see an instant dividend as the Elie Lellouche-trained colt impressed many onlookers in taking the Prix Niel, renowned as the premier trial for the Arc. The prolific three-year-old had been off the track since landing the Prix de Fontain-ebleau over a mile in April and was stepping up a full half-mile in trip.

Jockey Gregory Benoist settled his mount at the back and he made effortless progress when given his head in the straight, quickly swooping to the lead.

The lack of a recent outing was perhaps a factor as he began to tire in the final furlong, but he was ultimately well on top as he passed the post ahead of Teletext.

Aidan O’Brien’s Adelaide, last seen winning the Secretariat Stakes in America, could be counted unlucky in third.

Lellouche said: “He was very fresh because he had not run in a while. If you have a good horse it can go over any distance and I was always confident he could run over a mile and a half.

“I always thought he was a very good horse and it was a good performance.”

Benoist also has the option of riding unbeaten filly Avenir Certain in the Arc, potentially leaving Dettori to ride Ectot.

He said: “I have plenty of time to make my mind up.”

Pascal Bary announced that Teletext would not be going for the Arc.

Dettori had recently lost the ride on Treve at Head-Maarek’s request for Jarnet, but the Italian has found another Arc string to his bow in the shape of O’Brien’s Prix Foy victor Ruler Of The World, in whom Sheikh Joaan also has a share, this time with Coolmore.

Last year’s Derby winner was given a fine front-running ride from Dettori, comfortably accounting for Flintshire.

Dettori said: “If it was raining he would be knocking on the door (in the Arc).

“I don’t know what I will ride, I am waiting for the others.”

O’Brien was at the Curragh, where he said: “He should progress well and was only ready to go for the trial.

“I’d imagine the Arc is where he will go next.”

On what was a stellar card, the Freddy Head-trained Charm Spirit was just too strong for Richard Hannon’s pair of Toronado and Night Of Thunder in the Prix du Moulin. He could run in the QEII at Ascot next month or be put away for next year.

* Kingman’s planned outing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot next month is in doubt due to a throat infection.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “Kingman has a throat infection, which was discovered Saturday. Obviously it is less than ideal for a preparation going into a big race, but it (QEII) is still a month away.

“We would be hopeful of still getting him to the QEII, but it is far from certain.”

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