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Trêve’s big challenge

24 June 2015

Before the 2014 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, no thoroughbred had managed to successfully defend the Arc crown since Alleged in 1978, and no filly had scored back-to-back victories in the Great Race since Corrida in 1937.

It had already come as a bit of surprise that Criquette Head’s super-mare was going to stay in training in 2014 following her first awesome five-length Arc win almost 2 years ago. Even more astonishing, for many observers, was the way she so convincingly bagged her second Arc last October, in view of all the setbacks she had undergone in training (see “Trêve’s outstanding comeback”)!

However, the racing world was incredulous when Criquette revealed barely a week after the second victory that owner Sheik Joaan Al Thani wanted to leave Trêve in training as a 5yo. Harry Herbert, spokesman for Al Shaqab Racing, explained: “The Sheik said this is why we are in the game – to try to do these sort of things, to break barriers. He wants to give her a chance to write her name in the history books and be trained specifically to try to win a third Arc. It will also allow fans which she has in Qatar and around world, to enjoy her for another season.”

Maarek knows that the stats are against Trêve, but after consultation with the Sheik, was only too pleased to take up the challenge. By the end of March she had already mapped out her programme. Just after her final workout before reappearing earlier than expected in the Prix Corrida (Gr 2) on May 29th, Criquette had declared: “Her stay in the countryside this winter did her the world of good. She's stayed three months at our stud. We let her out at eight in the morning and we brought her back in at midday so she would have the same regime as at Chantilly. Then we let her out again in the afternoon from 2pm until about four with another filly who I sent along with her. That did her a great deal of good and she has really developed physically. As you know, horses keep growing until they’re five. She's really thickened out a lot and I think she looks a lot stronger.”

The result? Trêve slammed the opposition by 4 lengths on her reappearance and is now heading for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr 1) on June 28th, the next stopover on the road in her bid for an historic third Arc win.