Treve took another giant step forward in her bid to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for an unprecedented third time as she comfortably dispensed of old adversary Flintshire in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at the Paris track. In a repeat of last season’s Arc, Criquette Head-Maarek’s brilliant mare had the Andre Fabre-trained entire back in second place as she recorded her fifth Group One success.
Treve was quite handy in about fourth place in the early stages, with the pace set by her stablemate Altaira until the latter ran wide into the straight.
Flintshire hit the front on the far rail, but Thierry Jarnet was wise to the move and ushered Treve (4/9 favourite) to go and win her race, which she duly did in relatively cosy fashion by a length and a quarter.
Dolniya was third without ever threatening to challenge for victory.
Treve was immediately cut to 5/2 favourite from 11/4 with Paddy Power to win the Qatar-sponsored Arc for the third year running on October 4.
The daughter of Motivator will now have a break before returning for her Arc prep in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on September 13.
Harry Herbert, racing advisor to owners Al Shaqab Racing, said: “Absolutely fantastic. That was really exciting. It just shows she’s as good as ever or better than ever because it was a very impressive performance on ground that was certainly quicker than ideal.
“She was a little bit free, but Thierry got her beautifully settled and she’s just a champion. The next stop is the Vermeille. It’s fingers crossed. Everything’s gone well so far and it’s been a great performance by Criquette.
“We hope now the plan can be executed. We’re halfway through the plan.”
Head-Maarek was understandably delighted with the latest superb display from her stable star.
“It was fantastic,” beamed the trainer. “She won very easily, she just needed a tap to make her go.
“She’s a good filly. We don’t know what she’s worth really. The plan is to give her a break and then bring her back for the Vermeille.”
Jarnet said: “The ground was a little bit too firm for her, but it is said that the good horses will go on any ground. The mare was in great form – she’s just in brilliant form.”
Meanwhile, Ed Walker may consider a tilt at the Prix Maurice de Gheest for Aeolus after the four-year-old provided the highlight of a remarkable four-timer for the Newmarket trainer in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle on Saturday.
It is possible Aeolus could turn out quickly in a Group Three across the Channel next week if the ground is suitable. “He might run next Sunday in a Group Three in France (Prix de Ris-Orangis at Maisons-Laffitte), but he’s so ground dependent,” said Walker.
“We’ll probably make an entry in the Maurice de Gheest for him as well.”