Wonder mare Treve set out on the road to an unprecedented third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with an impressive victory on her eagerly-awaited return in the Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud yesterday.
Making her first public appearance since defying her critics with a resounding second success in the Longchamp showpiece in October, Criquette Head-Maarek’s five-year-old delighted connections as she landed the odds in some style.
After a smart start, Treve was reined back by Thierry Jarnet as rank outsider and stablemate Silvaplana adopted a pacesetting role in the Group Two over an extended mile and a quarter.
Having travelled strongly throughout, Treve moved closer to the front from the home turn and once let down by Jarnet, quickly asserted, with her trademark acceleration seeing her bound clear a furlong out.
Jarnet only had to keep riding Sheikh Joaan’s mare with hands and heels to pull relentlessly clear of last season’s Prix de l’Opera winner We Are and score by four lengths.
Head-Maarek said: “I am delighted. I have to be, she’s done everything I thought she would, and she will improve a lot from the run because she spent three months on the farm during the winter and hadn’t run since last October.
“Thierry said she was very relaxed throughout the race and I could tell from the look on his face when he came back in that he is as thrilled as I am.”
Treve had looked set to be retired after successfully defending her crown last autumn, but Sheikh Joaan sportingly decided to bring her back for another campaign in the hope she can become the first horse to win Europe’s premier middle-distance event three times.
The trainer confirmed the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on June 28 would be next on the agenda.
“It was important that she ran well but it was a preparation for tougher races ahead and now our attention is set on the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud at the end of next month,” said Head-Maarek.
“She will appreciate moving up to a mile and a half.
“To see a five-year-old mare do what she did today is quite something, and tells us we might have much to look forward to in her build up to the Arc.”
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