Ksar, Motrico, Corrida, Tantieme, Ribot, and Alleged. All champions. All horses that won the Arc twice. But none of them ever could win it a third time. Tomorrow morning, all eyes in the horse racing world will be on France. The super mare Treve is trying to do the unprecedented, win 3 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. After a champion-like win in 2013 and an improbable win in 2014, Treve is coming into the Arc in perfect form. But so much is against her. First the obvious, no horse has ever won three straight. Jockeys have won three straight, but never a horse. Also, no horse older than 4 years old has won this race since 2002 (Marienbard). Or how no jockey has ever won this race 5 times (Thierry Jarnet has 4 lifetime Arc wins). And of course 17 other horses that want to take one of the richest and most prestigious races in the world. So let us go through her major foes and see if anyone can take down the queen of the world.
Treve has dueled with two horses for much of this year, Flintshire and Dolniya. Flintshire finished 2nd to Treve last year. Flintshire winning would give Andre Fabre his record adding 8th win. He is coming out of a huge win in the Sword Dancer Invitational and is aiming for the Breeders Cup Turf. Flintshire is a much improved horse compared to last year and is a threat here. But he hasn’t been able to get past Treve yet and he would need to run a big race to win. The younger filly in this race, Dolniya, goes out for the Aga Khan, attempting to finally get the upper hand.
Of course Golden Horn is a major threat to Treve’s chance at a Treble. Winner of the Derby, Eclipse, and Irish Champion Stakes, Golden Horn has been a monster on the track. Having lost once in his career (in the Juddmonte International), Golden Horn is a tough horse to get past. Having won the Irish Champion Stakes in controversy last time out, Golden Horn is coming into the Arc in good form, but if the ground is not to his liking, then there is a good chance he just puts together a subpar effort. While I am not saying he has no chance of winning, I just don’t think he is a true contender.
While Juddmonte may have Flintshire in this race, they also have one of the best three year olds in all of France, New Bay. This son of Dubawi has been electric this year, winning the Group One Prix du Jockey Club as well as the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano and the Group Two Prix Niel last time out. If any horse was to stop Treve, it would be New Bay. Having had experience over Longchamp, especially with a win at this track at this distance, New Bay is a threat. But if he just repeats his last effort, it will be a little to slow to get past Treve, who can finish at Longchamp in a much better time than New Bay has.
Dermot Weld sends out the lightly raced horse Free Eagle, winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Weld has put this horse in great spots to race and has been racing against the best, finishing third in the Irish Champion Stakes last time out. Hard to say that this horse won’t be prepared to win, but having never raced at a mile and a half is a question. But I think he will be fine. And he has Affirmed in his pedigree on the dam side. Definitely a threat.
Of course it wouldn’t be a European Group One if Aidan O’Brien didn’t have a horse in the field. Irish 1000 Guineas runner up Found joins the field after a runner up effort in the Irish Champion Stakes. Found hasn’t been a winning machine, but she has been close on multiple occasions. And she won on this day last year in the Prix Marcel Boussac. If she can finally get a favorable trip then she could be looming to upset.
In all honesty, I cannot see Treve losing the Arc without suffering a bad trip or racing on an unfavorable ground. Flintshire is a classy horse and has improved so much since last year’s Arc. Found and Free Eagle are also horses that should be used underneath. So here is my play:
3- Found, Free Eagle, and Golden Horn
Should be a great edition of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as Treve attempts to make history. I know I will be rooting for her to complete the Treveble.