If you’re involved in sport there’s rarely a good time to pick up an injury. In fact, injuries invariably occur at the most inopportune time.
Such misfortune has been bestowed upon Frankie Dettori who will miss what I strongly believe is a winning ride on TREVE in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp after fracturing his ankle at Nottingham on Wednesday.
It really is rotten luck for the Italian who is effectively rebuilding his career following a six-month ban for the use of cocaine. However, disappointing though it is that Dettori won’t be in the saddle, Thierry Jarnet is a more than adequate deputy given that he knows the filly well, having partnered her in three of her four previous starts.
Jarnet was aboard when Treve thrust herself into the limelight with an awesome display in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly in June. The daughter of Motivator showcased an electrifying turn of foot in that Classic, beating subsequent Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita by four lengths.
Criquette Head-Maarek’s stable star once again turned on the style when landing the Prix Vermeille, a recognised key trial for the big race itself, in Paris last month. In the process she provided Dettori, who was appointed as retained jockey to Treve’s owner Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani during the summer, with his first Group 1 success since returning to action.
As she did at Chantilly, Treve displayed tremendous acceleration in the Vermeille, overcoming traffic problems and ultimately winning with plenty in hand. Clearly, she stays every yard of the Arc trip and while she will be taking on the boys for the first time this weekend, I am confident that she will be equal to the task.
This may be deemed premature by many, but in my opinion she is out of the same drawer – the very top one – as the brilliant Zarkava who ended a 15-year Arc famine for the fairer sex when winning the 2008 renewal of Europe’s richest horse race. Indeed, Treve remains open to improvement and she could turn out to be frighteningly good, just like Zarkava.
During the week the money has come for the great white hope of Japan, Orfevre, who will be bidding to become the first horse since Tony Bin in 1988 to win the Arc 12 months after being defeated in the race.
In 2012, the Yasutoshi Ikee-trained entire looked set to deliver a highly desired first victory in this prestigious contest for Japan, only to idle badly inside the final furlong and effectively snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, eventually beaten a neck into second by Solemia.
However, with all due respect that Arc was one of the weakest of modern times, and horses of his age do no boast a good record in the race, with just two five-year-olds prevailing since 1975. I for one would not be rushing to back Orfevre at 2/1, classy though he is.
Kizuna, who also represents Japan, landed the Prix Neil on trials day. That race has been prolific in terms of throwing up future winners of the Arc in recent years, but I can’t help thinking that the brigade of three-year-old colts in the line-up simply won’t be good enough.
The one I fear most is German raider Novellist. He was very smart last term, but has clearly improved this time round and was mightily impressive when powering home in the King George at Ascot in July. Connections of the four-year-old have been very upbeat of late and Novellist looks a real threat.
Treve – 9/2 (William Hill)