Frankie Dettori claimed his first Group One winner since his comeback as Treve was promoted to favouritism for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after victory in the Prix Vermeille on trials day at Longchamp on Sunday.
In between the victories of Japanese contenders Kizuna and Orfevre, trainer Criquette Head-Maarek’s unbeaten Prix de Diane winner was trapped on the rail for much of the mile and a half but, switched wide in the home straight, quickly whittled down the advantage gained by the Lady Cecil-trained Wild Coco and won comfortably by a length and three-quarters, in the fastest time of the three Arc trials.
Dettori, who returned at the start of summer after serving the drugs ban he picked up when riding in France, said: “It’s brilliant. She’s the first decent horse I’ve ridden for a while. It was always the plan to ride her like that as I knew she had a great turn of foot.”
Orfevre, beaten at the death by Solemia in last year’s Arc, was far more impressive than when he had collected the corresponding Prix Foy and toyed with his opposition, albeit in a time more than four seconds slower than Treve. Jockey Christophe Soumillon, who was looking around for dangers as he eased three lengths clear, said: “After a performance like that, there’s not much more I can say. When he wants [to be], he is unbeatable.”
In the Prix Niel, the Japanese Derby winner Kizuna came out a short-head in front of the Derby winner, Ruler Of The World. Trainer Shozo Sasaki said: “This was his first run abroad so I’m very pleased. He was about 80 per cent today compared with the Japanese Derby so we will work hard to get the final 20 per cent before the Arc.”
Both Japanese winners are near the head of the market to end their country’s run of Arc near misses, which includes Kizuna’s sire Deep Impact, third seven years ago, and the mighty effort of El Condor Pasa in almost outrunning Montjeu in 1999.
Ryan Moore needed to thread his way though horses on Ruler Of The World, absent since his Irish Derby fifth, and his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, said: “He ran really well and I thought he’d won. He was coming back from a break so you would have to be delighted with that.”
O’Brien’s 2012 Derby winner Camelot missed the Prix Foy because of the soft ground, but the Ballydoyle trainer added another possible to his Arc team when Leading Light went one better than Camelot in winning the St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday, a length and a quarter too strong for the Oaks winner Talent.
In Longchamp’s mile Group One, the Prix du Moulin, Maxios slammed the field by five lengths, with Olympic Glory a tame second.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp, 6 October, Coral betting: 4-1 Treve, 5-1 Novellist, Kizuna, Orfevre, 7-1 Flintshire, 8-1 Intello, Ruler Of The World, 12-1 The Fugue, 14-1 Al Kazeem, 16-1 Ocovango, Leading Light.