Frankie Dettori endured a jockey's ultimate nightmare when Treve, the filly he would have ridden but for fracturing his ankle in a fall last week, annihilated one of the best fields seen in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, hacking up by five lengths to give Criquette Head-Maarek her finest moment as a trainer.
The memory of Treve running away with substitute jockey Thierry Jarnet half a mile out, plus the remarkable turn of foot displayed by this gangly, powerful filly in the home straight, can never be erased. She was simply outstanding.
Bought by the Head family's Haras de Quesnay operation for €22,000 – "I just thought it was ridiculous that she should be sold for such a low price," declared the family patriarch Alec Head – Treve fully justified the €8m which is reputed to have been paid by Sheikh Joaan Al Thani for the filly after her win in the Prix de Diane in June. Up to that point, Treve was still so immature that Head-Maarek had no intention of running her in an Arc, but her physical development has since been rapid.
Dettori's pain at missing the Arc ride will be acute and sustained. This year's race had been seen as an ideal opportunity for the flamboyant Italian not only to recapture the limelight in Europe's biggest all-aged contest, but also to deliver to his new employer, Sheikh Joaan, his biggest prize yet as an owner.
There is no doubt Dettori would have won on Treve yesterday; the brutal truth is that most jockeys in the top 20 would also have won on her. Jarnet could never get any cover on the outside for his mount, and he broke all the rules about riding Longchamp by allowing her to stride up to the leaders before the home turn. And he was in front more than two furlongs out.
Head-Maarek said Dettori had played an important part in getting Treve to the winner's enclosure. She said he had given the filly "an amazing ride" in the Prix Vermeille three weeks earlier, conserving her energy as much as he could in very soft ground. "I send him a big kiss," the trainer said.
For the second successive year, Japan's Orfevre filled the runner-up slot, but it was no close thing this time around. He managed just to get the better of Prix du Jockey-Club winner Intello, which did best of Andre Fabre's quintet of runners in third, with Kizuna, the Japanese Derby winner, fourth.
Now, Head-Maarek would like to speak to the owner about training Treve for a repeat win in next year's Arc.
The filly is 4/1 with Paddy Power to pull it off, and according to the trainer, she should be better and stronger still by then. The calming effect of fitting earplugs in the paddock beforehand had also been beneficial. "I think there's a lot of improvement in her physically," Head-Maarek said.
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."
Jarnet (46) also later won the Prix de la Foret, with Moonlight Cloud, which ran past the entire field in the straight to win easily. It is doubtful that many jockeys would ever have ridden two such fine fillies in the one afternoon.
Much like Treve, Moonlight Cloud came with a late burst to capture the prize but her acceleration was truly jaw-dropping as she easily overtook Tom Hogan's front-running Gordon Lord Byron, which was trying to defend his Foret title.
However, the gallant Haydock Sprint Cup winner had no answer to Moonlight Cloud's change of gear and she ran out an easy three-length winner, with Gordon Lord Byron fending off Garswood by a head for the runner-up prize.
Trainer Freddie Head said: "I knew she was very well and if it all went well she would be hard to beat. For the moment, we have no plans. Of course I'd love her to stay in training, but at six? Who knows, nothing is definite."
Earlier, Maarek flew the flag for Tipperary as he he swooped late to snatch the glory in the Qatar Prix de l'Abbaye. Trained by Barry Lalor, Maarek was scoring a first Group One victory as jockey Declan McDonogh produced his mount between horses inside the final furlong to see off Catcall by a neck.
Hamza raced prominently throughout and just held on to third in a photo with Nunthorpe winner Jwala, while Reckless Abandon had to settle for fifth on his first start since Royal Ascot in June.
Lalor said: "We knew the horse was in good form and he likes the ground soft, but it's always risky with a hold-up horse as you never know what's going to happen.
"It's every trainer and owner's dream with a sprinter to end up in this race and I'd like to particularly thank my assistant Evanna McCutcheon for getting the horse here in such good shape."
Dalkala and Tasaday fought out a thrilling finish to the Prix de l'Opera Longines, with the former prevailing by a nose. Trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, Dalkala was produced in the dying strides by Christophe Soumillon and despite Tasaday's best efforts she was just edged out. British raider Thistle Bird finished third for Charlton in what was her final career start.
Indonesienne was another to finish with a late rattle to deny the front-running Lesstalk In Paris by three-quarters of a length in the Total Prix Marcel Boussac. The Charlie Hills-trained Queen Catrine was third but Richard Fahey's Sandiva struggled to make her mark on what appeared to be quite testing ground.
The Marco Botti-trained Tac De Boistron had to settle for second in the final Group One event of the day, the Prix du Cadran over two and a half miles. The grey was outstayed by Andreas Wohler's Altano in the marathon event. (© Daily Telegraph, London)