Qatar Prix de l’Arc du Triomphe (Gr.1)







Eighteen horses were entered for the 92nd running of the Prix de l’Arc du Triomphe  – the pinnacle of the European season where last year’s runner up, Japan’s Orfevre was the favorite. Things would nevertheless turn out differently. After a surprise victory in Prix de Diane, Trêve was back to claim the biggest race of the year – and with a demolishing five lengths.


By Camilla Alfthan


2’32’’04 was the race time of the unbeaten Motivator filly who whisked passed the Japanese favorite, Orfevre, with no chance of winning.


To her jockey, Thierry Jarnet, who had already won the Arc in 1992 and 1994, the victory was sweet as ever.

”I always dreamed about winning this race as it’s for me the biggest in the world and I got the chance again with Trêve after Dettori’s accident. Those things happen in a jockeys life. It’s been like that for me for a while and that’s the downside of racing. There are also good moments. For me this moment is magic because I had the chance to ride a great champion,” said Thierry Jarnet, 46,who earlier in the year rode Trêve to her surprise victory in the Prix Diane in Chantilly.


”It’s pretty rare to win several big races in one year. Despite some difficult years I’m still competitive. That’ s a real comfort. That gives me future challenges,”  he said.




Bred in Calvados by the Head family (Haras du Quesnay), half-sold to the Qatari  Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani, whose colours she wears after her Prix de Diane win – the Lady in Red now a Lady in Grey – procured Qatar with their first Arc win – while she also gave a second win to Christiane ”Criquette” Head-Maarek; the only woman to have won the Arc de Triomphe twice – the first time in 1979 with Three Troïkas.


The only 3-year-old filly in the race, Trêve drew a bad stall number (15) and had to run with her nose to the wind.  She remained on the outside of the pack throughout but showed brilliance even when the pace in the first part of the race was not very sustained, with Joshua Tree leading, just in front of Penglai Paivilion and Ocovango.

Her jockey, Thierry Jarnet, took the opportunity to get his partner closer in the descent and to bring her up to the front with the pacemakers at the beginning of the final straight. As soon as Trêve felt him pushing her on, she stormed an advance on her rivals, winning by an impressive five lengths.

”She won in a surprising manner. Until now we hadn’t asked too much of her, and she did it all very easily. But today she really showed that she is a champion.  Because the race did not go too well for her, after all, she was in outside and on the way down she was next to Orfevre. I didn’t think it was the best position but Thierry made that decision. And when he asked her to go forward I realized that we were going to win,” Criquette Head-Maarek about the filly that comes from the family’s stud in Calvados.


When she in 2011 was taken to auction in Deauville nobody  wanted her so she was bought back by her vendors for 22,000 euros.


”I always thought she was good but today she really showed that she has seven gears. I knew she had six, but when she put the seventh on I knew she was going to win easily. Now I’d like her to rest for next year. The goal is to make a double and take her back here next year again as she can still improve a lot physically,” said Criquette Head-Maarek.


“I knew she had six gears but when she put the seventh on I knew she was going to win easily.”


”I don’t want Thierry to retire because I have a sister of Trêve that I want him to ride. He’s in great shape and he doesn’t have any problems with his weight. He doesn’t have the right to quit,” she added.






Just one hour later, Thierry Jarnet was back after yet another spectacular Group One win – the Prix de la Forêt on Moonlight Cloud – his second Group One win of the day – and the sixth of his five-year old mare.


”She’s perhaps the best horse I’ve ever ridden. Though she now has a competitor in Trêve. Until this point I haven’t had a horse that could accelerate as quickly as she can,” said Thierry Jarnet about Moonlight Cloud who is trained by Criquette Head-Maarek’s brother Freddy.


”After Arc I was a little bit nervous, as I though too much is too much..But she’s exceptional and Thierry knows her very well. Few jockeys know what they have in the hands and in the legs. He asked her to accelerate and come forward and she did.


The big question now is, if she’ll run in the Breeder’s Cup. Next year, we’ll see if she’ll stay in training or go to stud.

Thierry says she never had a hard race so you never know. She could be as good at age six as she is a five. You never know,” said Freddy Head who was also trained the legendary Goldikova – a winner of altogether 14 Group One races including three Breeder’s Cup’s.

”I can say that Goldikova was a little bit less good at six than at five; she went down. On the other hand, she had races that were much harder and she raced more often. 14 Group one races is something quite special. But just to have the possiblitiy to have a horse like that in your stables is a pleasure.”