Treve has become the first horse since Alleged in 1977/78 to win Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in successive years as she stormed home at Longchamp.
Treve – giving jockey Thierry Jarnet his fourth win in the race – on Sunday came home ahead of Flintshire while English filly Taghrooda was third.
Treve, owned by Sheikh Joaan al-Thani of Qatar, had failed to win all season, casting doubts on her ability, but her trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, who controversially took jockey Frankie Dettori off the filly, insisted she could still win.
“This is a great personal satisfaction for me, this is truly wonderful,” said the tearful 65-year-old.
“I couldn’t believe the gap that opened for her on the rails and then her burst of acceleration was extraordinary.
“This has been the most complicated preparation I have ever had for this race,” added Head-Maarek, who also won a war of words with Dettori as he had said Treve was gone mentally – something she had hotly denied.
Head-Maarek, whose grandfather William Head and father Alec trained two and four Arc winners respectively, while brother Freddie won three as a jockey, said it was without doubt the greatest training performance of her career.
“It is the best race I have ever won with all the problems with her back and hoof and criticism aimed at her. This is brilliant, I’m not yet back down to earth yet,” she added.
The Japanese dream of winning the race they regard as the greatest in the world once again was dashed as both Harp Star and Gold Ship were left with far too much to do and their late runs yielded little.
Just A Way was prominent in the straight but failed to stay the 2400m and faded from the fray as proven stayers Taghrooda and Flintshire came through, with the latter getting the better of the filly to take second for seven-time winning trainer Andre Fabre.
Angus Gold, the racing manager to Taghrooda’s owner Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, said there was nothing to be ashamed of in defeat.
“She looked like she was going to win coming into the straight but she has been beaten by a great horse. We leave with our heads held high,” said Gold.