Treve’s bid for history has in the last 48 hours gone from some certainty to some doubt judged by the drift in the market from odds on to odds against. Is the market right?
She looked imperious in the Prix Vermille 3 weeks ago when she absolutely smashed the field with the release of her tremendous turn of foot. Thierry Jarnet could hardly contain her. She wanted to cruise, she wanted to travel but those around her were incapable of coming near matching her stride. She made good fillies including Arabian Queen who beat Golden Horn at York look very ordinary. When she was finally given her head she flew and in a matter of strides it was all over. She sauntered up Longchamps home straight digging deep into the very soft turf with each step lifting her further and higher giving her the chance to extend her stride to the full. Magnificent to watch.
Her trainer Criquette Head has timed her season beautifully. Prior to the Vermille she had two spins around Saint Cloud in the Prix Corrida and Grand Prix De Saint Cloud giving her the perfect preparation for this third Arc tilt. Unlike last year everything has gone right and all credit to her trainer as she comes here in the form of her life.
So why has the market got the jitters?
It was after all the same weekend we saw the Champion Stakes and the Prix Vermille. Within 24 hours of Golden Horn’s success at Leopardstown the market decided that Treve’s Vermille performance put considerable distance between her and her all her market rivals. Maybe it was the controversial finish at Leopardstown that clouded the judgement. Golden Horn you felt always had the measure of Free Eagle even if he did put him out of the race.
It’s the ground is the great leveler.
Golden Horn’s owner has expressed the opinion his colt would easily beat Treve on fast ground. Considering last year’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes it’s a statement not without foundation. Treve couldn’t let herself down on the lighting quick ground at Royal Ascot that day and up against a top class filly who totally loved the surface The Fugue easily had her measure.
The issue here is the ground while very much coming the way of the Golden Horn camp it is still not what he really really wants, quick, lighting quick. That’s the surface that brought out the best in him in the Derby and Eclipse when he could hear his feet rattle. It was not so at York when Arabian Queen turned him over in what was akin to Japan’s Rugby World Cup performance against South Africa. John Gosden’s view has been they got the tactics wrong on the Knavesmire rather than the horse just couldn’t reproduce his speed on a surface less than quick.
So the ground, likely to be good, won’t be either’s first love, the questions are then who’ll like it more than the other and will that be enough to floor the rest of the field.
As ever the Arc produces the best middle distance horses of the last few years to compete against each other. This year is no different. It’s regrettable no Japanese challenger has emerged however New Bay who was given an impossible task in the French Guineas when trying to come from last to first (nearly making it) then showed his class by winning the French Derby. He’s since won on heavy at Deauville and put in a very smooth performance in his prep over course and distance in the Prix Neil.
Free Eagle surely can’t keep revving the engine in the last two furlongs. When he came upsides Golden Horn at Leopardstown he looked to be in top gear and it’s hard to imagine his stamina will stretch another two furlongs. Found will pose more of a threat. She was forgotten in the controversy but she ran a fine race to be second and will surely benefit from the step up in trip. She’ll also benefit from the weight for age and fillies allowances from the field. Mention must also be made of Tapestry the Yorkshire Oaks winner of last year (where she beat Taghrooda) who made a highly encouraging return to the track in the Blandford Stakes.
Of the others Flintshire returned to winning ways in America in the Sword Dancer having chased down Treve here last year. The three-year old Erupt did exactly that in his first four runs but hated the soft ground in the Prix Neil. Eagle Top was beaten a nose by Postponed in the King George who then ran a faster time than Treve in the Prix Foy. There all good horses.
As ever the Arc will produce a cracking race. Treve has to match Corrida (1936 & 1937 winner) as the only mare to win it as a five-year old. Golden Horn or New Bay on the other hand would join a long list of winning three-year old colts. Should either prevail they would be the 47th to do it. Found would be the 13th three-year old filly. History is not on Treve’s side.
The draw often is a feature in the Arc. Treve is drawn in the middle in stall 8 which means she might encounter traffic problems. Golden Horn and Found must overcome wide draws from 14 and 15.
With the pacemaker drawn in 2 New Bay breaking from stall 5 is given a considerable advantage. He can break and track the pacemaker and when she falls away take control of the race and steal a march on them. If Treve’s trapped in a pocket there’ll be serious questions asked of her turn of foot. She’ll no doubt answer and with Golden Horn, Tapestry and Found coming there too it promises to be mouth watering finish. New Bay can hold on.
Recommendations: New Bay 5/1 win
Found and Tapestry coupled on the pari mutual e/w