Connections of Treve were upbeat despite the filly suffering her first defeat in the Prix Ganay at Longchamp.
Making her seasonal reappearance in the Group One event yesterday, the Criquette Head-Maarek-trained Treve was getting 3lb from popular veteran Cirrus Des Aigles but could not take advantage as her race-fit rival edged her out in a thrilling battle up the straight.
Frankie Dettori tried to hold Treve up at the rear of the field, but last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner got no cover on the outside and made up a lot of ground in the middle of the race.
It looked as though Treve’s class would see her through against Cirrus Des Aigles but, with the benefit of two runs already this year, he proved too strong and battled back to win by a short neck.
Head-Maarek felt the ground might have gone against her charge and she remains confident of avenging the defeat should the pair face each other again this season.
She said: “Maybe there was too much rain, it was sticky out there and we had too much ground to make up. It was a very good run but the only thing I will say is that my pacemaker went too fast.
“The winner had had two races already and the fitness was there. She is brave but the other horse is stronger with those two runs this year and he loves that ground. She ran a great race but he was fitter than we were.
“In the rematch, I’m sure we can get it back,” Head-Maarek added. “She took the lead but in the end he’s come back at us – that’s racing. Horses are not unbeatable, that is for certain.”
Harry Herbert, racing manager for Sheikh Joaan al-Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing, insists the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June remains very much on the agenda.
He said: “It’s all very much to play for in the bigger picture and we will be heading to Royal Ascot as planned.”