Treve will be trying to become the first horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three times at Longchamp on Sunday but New Bay cannot be dismissed due to the profile to prevent the filly making history. Ground conditions are working out to be in favour of Golden Horn and the horse’s owner is optimistic but given a run Jack Hobbs may me more suited to the race conditions.
Free Eagle looks the best each-way alternative to the market leaders for a race that could have as many as 20 runners. The Arc is the richest Flat race in Europe and brings together the best middle distance horses of the Classic generation and older horses that have been kept in training beyond the age of three. The race is the season defining championship and generally identifies the best horse in Europe. The meeting attracts thousands of visitors from the UK and Racing Trips Abroad has its own stand.
The Prix de Triomphe is open to horses aged three and older and is run over one mile four furlongs at the Longchamp racecourse just outside Paris. It is the most prestigious race during the European Flat season and only the Melbourne Cup and Japan Cup are currently more lucrative races run on turf. In 2014 the purse made it the richest contest raced on grass and only the Dubai World Cup had a bigger first prize.
Seven horses have won the Arc twice and before Treve Alleged was the most recent multiple winner in 1977 and 1978 but that horse was not given the chance to win the race the following year. Six jockeys have won four renewals, including Thierry Jarnet who rode Treve in the last two years. So if Treve wins again the jockey will break new ground with a fifth win and the horse will achieve something unique.
Andre Fabre is the winning most trainer having taken care of seven Arc winners between 1987 and 2006. He trains New Bay who won the trial that all Fabre’s three- year-older winners took before finishing first in the big race. Marcel Boussac won six Arcs between 1936 and 1949 and no owner or syndicate has matched that achievement. Treve is owned by Al Shaqab Racing and trained by Criquette Head who are obviously going for a third win in the race.
Since 2003 the winner has been aged three or four so Treve will be the first five year old to win the Arc for thirteen years. Every winner since 1941 has been five or younger and only in 1932 did an older horse win the race. In the last ten years three- year-olds have won seven times and a horse a year older won the other three races during this spell. Treve’s winning time a year ago was the fastest since 2004 and six seconds better than in 2013.
After last year’s Arc a decision was made to retire Treve but connections changed their mind and the horse has been trained over the last twelve months with only the first Sunday in October in mind. The horse was mightily impressive on Arc trials day and the trainer believes she is in the best form of her life. The filly’s allowance means only a great horse or bad luck in running can prevent Treve winning the Arc for an unprecedented third time. Presumably the horse will be retired immediately.
New Bay is a worthy second favourite and on form and ratings has a slight edge over Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs, first and second in the Derby and both trained by John Gosden. New Bay won the French Derby and the trial that Fabre also targets for his potential Arc runners in their Classic year. The horse’s trainer knows how to get his Arc runners to peak for the race and New Bay looked like he had room for improvement when last seen on the track.
Good ground looks likely on Sunday and that could be the final deciding factor in making Treve appear on course to make history. The horse goes on all sorts of ground but good was the description for last year’s race. Treve appreciates soft ground but has won on fast while Golden Horn prefers good underfoot conditions. With the sun shining in Paris this week the ground will favour both but Treve’s weight allowance makes her just about unbeatable at Longchamp at the start of October.