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Top Horse Treve Triumphs in the 92nd Arc at Longchamp, Paris

This weekend has been a racing junkie’s dream come true, with 17 fine horse-races spread over a span of 2 days in sun-dappled Paris, and telecast in over 30 countries all over the world. The Arc weekend was a spectacular success, and, as anticipated, gave viewers the fabulous finish the event had been promising all along. Sample this – an entire weekend (the first one every October) of thundering hooves, furious math, and star-spotting, while soaking up the sun (and all that Kronenbourg!). Add to the equation - 7 (yes, 7!) Group 1s, the highlight being Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s biggest and most prestigious annual horse racing event - yes, that probably explains why all those cross-channel flights were booked out! Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have a clear winner here – Treve the French filly owned by Sheikh Joann al-Thani of Qatar, who not only beat what was probably one of the best fields in recent racing times, but also all the negative statistics against her - from having pulled an unfavourable stall no. 15 on the outside to having her jockey Frankie Dettori pull out last week. As trainer Criquette Head-Maarek put it - "When horses are that good, numbers make no difference and the ground makes no difference."



The 3 year-old was in top form today, putting up a winning burst that really did not give hot favourite Orfevre much of a chance. Treve had to struggle to get early cover, but the controlled and steady pace at which Thierry Jarnet rode his mount ensured that the filly was in position to stun the Japanese contender with a sizeable lead with a furlong and an half to go. Orfevre and the Japanese contingent had to be happy yet again with the second position at the Arc for the second consecutive year. Intello came in third, followed by Kizuna. Treve’s feat has been hailed similar to that of Zarkava in 2008 who, like Treve, won the French Oaks, Prix Vermeille and the Arc all in the same season.

The Big Daddy of Racing

Thousands of racing enthusiasts and punters flocked to the city of love and lights this weekend in the hope of catching the newest equestrian extraordinaire blaze its way to triumph. The French certainly know how to do it in style, putting up a brilliant October-fest of their very own – but oh, with so much more elegance and adrenalin-packed moments! The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, or the Arc, as it’s popularly known, sees the best of the best thoroughbreds competing neck-to-neck for one of the most-coveted racing championships. Indeed, the one to win it is deemed The Champion and earns bragging rights to eternity, name engraved on the pages of horse history and all. This year, a record number of Group 1 winners competed for the top spot and a hefty purse of 4.8 mn Euros – Arc ’13 reportedly had the fast and furious of the equine elite from all over the world, including winners of the Epsom Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes, the Japanese Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris among others. All with impressive wins in Group 1 races, most with impeccable lineage. Which made the speculation for one of the biggest sports betting weekends even more frenetic and fraught with possibilities - guessing the winning combination at the National Lottery might have been less stressful! News of favourites and past winners like Danedream, Nathaniel, Snow Fairy and Novellist pulling out, surprise renewals at trials, the stall allotment-bombs all kept the race open till the very last.

So, we had a sizeable British-Irish contingent rooting for Aiden O’Brien’s colt Ruler of the World – the Epsom Derby hero, who showed very positive form against main rival Kizuna – Japan’s second hope for the Top 5 slot after the hotly tipped Orfevre – who held the strongest odds at 2/1. Clued-in racing aficionados meanwhile continued backing Treve (and we all know how well that turned out for these lucky loyalists!) despite her misfortunes with jockey and stall. UK punters placed strong odds on their very own challengers Al Kazeem, Leading Light and The Fugue, who were probably not in the same league as the the Kizunas and the Treves, but still very good horses capable of pulling off surprise upsets. Local challenger Intello also remained popular with the French crowd, who hoped to see 6-time Arc winner-trainer Andre Fabre groom his seventh champion. Indeed, the stage was set for one thrilling, nerve-wracking finish – one that saw some seriously superb creatures thundering away in a quest for hard-earned glory against the absolute crème-de-la-crème.

Racing and betting enthusiasts will have to wait a bit for the next big race, and odds are rather on the low side that the upcoming ones would be able to match the action, drama, intensity and emotion of the Arc Weekend. For those of you wishing you had bet on the right horse, well, cheer up – given how unpredictable this particular Arc was, you may have better chances winning on Europe’s biggest Lottery, the Euro Millions!

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