Women always get what they want. This was the sentiment that echoed loudest as Criquette Head-Marek provided one of the greatest training displays of all time in capturing the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the second year on the bounce with superstar filly Treve.
But this only happened after pleading with owner Sheikh Joann Al Thani to keep her in training after three subdued performances this season.
After winning the Arc impressively last season, Treve has had all sorts of injury problems and setbacks which had led to many experts believing she should be retired.
But trainer Head-Marek had the ultimate faith in her stable star and asked owner Sheikh Joann for the same: “It’s not easy to tell Sheikh Joaan not to rule the filly out of the Arc after what he was hearing.
“Because a lot of people said she has gone, she’s no good, she was a good three-year-old but she hasn’t trained on. I asked him to have faith in me and let me do it the way I want and he said okay.”
This was Head-Marek’s third victory in the Arc and jockey Thierry Jarnet’s fourth but it was by far the most satisfying for both of them and in truth the result was never in danger as the horses swung into the home straight with Treve travelling comfortably hugging the inside rail.
Jarnet asked Treve to quicken and she duly showed her trademark acceleration to leave her rivals fighting it out for the places in behind, with the Andre Fabre-trained Flintshire securing second and English Oaks winner and favourite for the race Taghrooda claiming third.
David O’Meara has his feet well and truly tucked under the top table as he gained his second group One success within a month as his unheralded perennial bridesmaid Move in Time pounced late to snatch the Prix de l’Abbaye at odds of 25/1.
After finishing second three times on the bounce in races considered weaker than this, Move in Time was an unfancied outsider but he outran his odds and his trainers expectations.
“That was a huge effort. I wasn’t sure if he had it as he crossed the line. It’s great. He’s been very solid and finished second a lot this season.
“He’s ran well here in the past and now he’s won. It’s great for the owners who bred him,” said O’Meara.
Move in Time’s pilot Danny Tudhope explained this messy nature of the race and was unsure of victory at first as he crossed the line with the first four horses home separated by less than half a length.
“There was a lot of shouting going on, as you can imagine, there were a lot of people getting a bit tight on the rail.
But I managed to get a little gap, just on the outside of them and it worked out well. I don’t ride here very often and it is difficult to know where the line is but to ride a winner at this meeting is fantastic.”
The big race this weekend is the Betfred sponsored Cesarewitch which is run over two miles and two furlongs at Horse Racing’s head quarters, Newmarket.
The man that all the bookies fear is the very shrewd Irishman Tony Martin who targets all the long distance handicaps and has stung the bookies more than once with some massive gambling coups.
Martin trains the dual purpose Quick Jack who was instantly promoted to favouritism for the race after romping to a comfortable three-length victory in an ultra competitive handicap last time out at Galway.
Martin boasts a solid record in the race with his Leg Spinner winning the race in 2007 and Arc Bleu and Barba Papa finishing placed in 2008 and 2000 he instantly nominated this race as Quick Jack’s next target.
“As soon as the Galway race was over I thought that the Cesarewitch would be the ideal race for him and I couldn’t see the point in taking him anywhere in the meantime as he is a fairly easy horse to keep ticking over at home.”
Finally, when asked to compare Quick Jack to his previously placed and winning horses in the Cesarewitch he said: “I think that Quick Jack has as much pace as any of the previous trio, maybe more, and he’s at least as good as any of the three of them.”
After the recent rain, which is also in Quick Jack’s favour as he wants conditions to be on the soft side of good, he has plenty of positives going for him heading into the big race on Saturday.
Depending on how kind the draw is on Thursday I think we will see another famous Tony Martin gamble with Quick Jack going off at a much shorter price than the currently available 7-1 and hopefully coming home in first.
Jimmy’s top tips
Quick Jack (Betfred Cesarewitch) Newmarket Saturday