Treve preps for third Arc; Karakontie among big names in deep Moulin

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

September 13th, 2015

In this weekend's whirlwind tour of top-level international racing, our next stop is at Longchamp Sunday, where two-time Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) heroine Treve is the star attraction on "Arc Trials" Day.

Treve seeks to regain her crown in the Prix Vermeille (G1), which she won prior to her first Arc victory in 2013. During a 2014 campaign blighted by physical problems, she was only fourth in the Vermeille, but trainer Criquette Head-Maarek and team got her sorted in time for a stunning title defense in the Arc. Famously unretired to seek an unprecedented third Arc, Treve has had no difficulties as a five year-old. She's won both 2015 starts at Saint-Cloud, the May 29 Prix Corrida (G2) and the June 28 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1), beating Flintshire and Dolniya. The plan was always to give her a summer break and gear back up for the fall, and all reports are that Treve is raring to go.

Leading Treve's eight rivals is Arabian Queen, who qualifies as a giant killer after upsetting hitherto unbeaten Golden Horn in the Juddmonte International (G1) at York. This marks her first attempt at the 1 1/2-mile trip. Godolphin's Beautiful Romance just dusted classy older male Gospel Choir at Windsor; Aidan O'Brien sends out Diamondsandrubies, who edged Legatissimo in the Pretty Polly (G1) two back; Sea Calisi exits a fine third in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1); and the Aga Khan's Candarliya is riding a four-race winning streak, the last two at the expense of Al Naamah. Treve will spot each of those sophomore fillies nine pounds. The only other older mare in the Vermeille is Frine, a solid Group 2 type who faces a real task against Treve at a level 129 pounds.

Rather than confront Treve in the Vermeille, the fillies Dolniya and Baino Hope prefer to take their chances against males in the Prix Foy (G2). Dolniya, fifth in the 2014 Arc, was much improved in the first half of 2015. She beat Flintshire three straight times, most notably when taking the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1), before settling for third behind Treve and him in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. Also prepping for the Arc in this course-and-distance prep is Postponed, last seen coming again bravely to win the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1). The high-class stayer Bathyrhon is intriguingly cutting back in trip, while Baino Hope comes off a career high in the Prix de Pomone (G2), Spiritjim is searching to regain his old form, and Free Port Lux hopes to shed his underachiever label.

Sophomores get their own dedicated Arc trial in the Prix Niel (G2), which shapes up as a fascinating clash between Grand Prix de Paris (G1) winner Erupt and French Derby (G1) hero New Bay, both sons of Dubawi. Erupt is obviously a proven commodity over course and distance, but New Bay has yet to tackle 1 1/2 miles. Silverwave has seen the backside of both, finishing ninth in the French Derby and fourth in the Grand Prix de Paris. Ol' Man River, once a leading classic hope for Ballydoyle before flaming out, hopes to get his season back on track. Unbeaten Ming Dynasty and Migwar, the respective one-two from the Grand Prix de Clairefontaine, take their most searching class test to date.

Sunday's superb card also includes the Prix du Moulin (G1), and even without mile stars Solow and Gleneagles, it's still a barn-burner of a renewal. Reigning Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) winner Karakontie was only sixth behind Esoterique in his reappearance in the August 16 Prix Jacques le Marois (G1), but his ring-rustiness showed as he reared at the start. With that comeback out of the way, and on probably much better ground than at Deauville, he's entitled to put forth a more characteristic effort. Ervedya is a prominent player as the French 1000 Guineas (G1) and Coronation (G1) queen. Arod is in the form of his life at the moment, as indicated by his mere half-length loss to Solow in the Sussex (G1). Esoterique also boasts a placing to Solow, running him to a length in Royal Ascot's Queen Anne (G1). The Gleneagles form is represented by Territories, runner-up in his 2000 Guineas (G1) and again to Esoterique on unsuitably soft in the Marois. In between Territories bested Dutch Connection in the Prix Jean Prat (G1). Toss in German interest in the shape of Marois third Wild Chief and Guiliani, who shortens up off a score in the 10-furlong Grosser Dallmayr-Preis (G1), and you've got quite a cast.

The pure speedsters and the marathoners get to tune up for their respective Arc Day events as well. The Prix du Petit-Couvert (G3) is a five-furlong dress rehearsal for the Prix de l'Abbaye (G1), and the 15 1/2-furlong Prix Gladiateur (G3) is a stepping stone to the Prix du Cadran (G1).

Treve photo by Frank Sorge/