Things We Learned » Treve valiant

Treve valiant

Treve made a valiant attempt to become the first horse in the near-100-year history of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to win it three times, and she got to within three places and two lengths of achieving that.

You can point to several potential contributors to her defeat.  The fast ground, the sedate pace, her wide path, her big run in the Prix Vermeille just three weeks previously.

There may have been nothing in one or two of those factors.  She had put up big performances before on fast ground, she had won off a sedate pace before, she had run wide and won before, and the Vermeille may not have taken much out of her at all.  However, each one may have chipped just a little off the top, and all four together may have made a significant difference.

As well as that, this was a deep Arc.  Flintshire set the clock, Andre Fabre’s horse had his ground, he secured a nice racing position for himself early on, and he at least equaled his best performance ever.  Either side of him were Golden Horn and New Bay, both top class and progressive three-year-old colts who were in receipt of the age allowance.

When Treve won the race in 2013, she was in receipt of 11lb from the runner-up Orfevre.  On Sunday, she was giving 5lb to Golden Horn and to New Bay, and that just proved to be beyond her.

Celebrate Golden Horn

You have to celebrate Golden Horn though.  True, he had the run of the race on Sunday, Frankie Dettori engineered the run of the race for him, but he still had to be very good to win as well as he did.

A Timeform rating off 133 as against Sea The Stars’ 140 tells you that he probably falls short of John Oxx’s superstar in terms of raw ability, but the parallels are quite uncanny.

Both horses are by Cape Cross.  Both horses were slow burns, both were relatively unheralded at the start of their respective three-year-old seasons, Sea The Stars an 8/1 shot for the Guineas, Golden Horn not even on the Derby landscape.

Both horses raced once a month through their three-year-old seasons, Sea The Stars from May to October, Golden Horn from April to October.  Both missed one big engagement because of unsuitably soft ground, Sea The Stars the Irish Derby, Golden Horn the King George.  Both numbered the Epsom Derby, the Eclipse and the Irish Champion Stakes among their victories, and both were imperious in winning the Arc.

There were differences though.  Golden Horn started off his season in April whereas Sea The Stars started in May.  Sea The Stars won the Guineas on his seasonal debut, whereas Golden Horn never had the Guineas on his radar.  Also, Golden Horn was beaten once as a three-year-old, shocked by Arabian Queen in the Juddmonte International.  Sea The Stars went undefeated through his three-year-old season, although he did suffer a slight scare in the same Juddmonte Intenational.

There could be one final difference.  Whereas Sea The Stars bowed out of racing in the winner’s enclosure at Longchamp – racing on was never a realistic option – Anthony Oppenheimer is considering a Breeders’ Cup mission for Golden Horn.  Hopefully he makes the trip now, it would be something if he could become the first Arc winner ever to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Arc notes

Horses to take out of the Arc?  Horses who ran better than the bare form of their runs suggest?  Found and Silverwave are top of the list.

Both horses were further back in the field than ideal, given that the early pace was unexpectedly sedate, and both horses made eye-catching ground in the home straight, into a quickening pace, the former despite being hampered twice.

Found remains potentially top class, she remains potentially better than she has been able to show so far this season, and there was no evidence from Sunday’s run to suggest that a mile and a half would not be her thing.

Silverwave would have been happier had they had some rain before racing on Sunday.  He will be interesting when he is faced with a greater stamina test.  He could be a cup horse for next season.

French Guineas boost

This year’s Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French 2000 Guineas, received another nice boost on Sunday, with Poulains runner-up New Bay running such a big race in the Arc, and Poulains winner Make Believe running out an impressive winner of the Prix de la Foret.

Make Believe had questions to answer, given that, on his only run between the Poulains and Sunday, he finished fifth of five behind Gleneagles in the St James’s Palace Stakes.  The vibe before Sunday’s race, however, was that Andre Fabre had him back, and that vibe was spot on.

There was depth to the Poulains too.  Highland Reel was sixth, and Aidan O’Brien’s horse has since won the Group 3 Gordon Stakes and the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes, while subsequent triple Group 1 winner and champion sprinter elect Muhaarar was eighth.  There could be even more to come from all four.

We Are unlucky

The Freddy Head-trained filly We Are was unlucky in the Prix de l’Opera.  Stone last of the 13 fillies as they turned for home, she made her ground widest of all, into a quickening pace.  She shouldn’t really have been able to get close to Covert Love or Jazzi Top, who raced prominently from early, but she did.  She got to within two and a half lengths of them to take third place.

She will be of interest now if she can get back on some good ground before the end of the season.  With a clear-looking long range forecast for Ascot next Saturday, her entry in the Champion Stakes is interesting.

© The Irish Field, 10th October 2015