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Criquette Head-Maarek dismisses Treve draw worries for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Updated: Friday, 04 Oct 2013 17:37 | Comments

Treve powers her way to victory in last month's Prix Vermeille
Treve powers her way to victory in last month's Prix Vermeille

Criquette Head-Maarek insists that stall 15 will be "no problem" for Treve as the unbeaten filly bids to beat the statistics in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Winner of the French Oaks and the Prix Vermeille already this season, Treve impressed many with her smart change of gear under Frankie Dettori to win her trial impressively, suggesting she would be a major player in the Arc, especially given the allowance for a three-year-old filly.

Her chances had already been dealt one apparent blow on Wednesday when Dettori, retained rider for owner Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, fractured an ankle at Nottingham, ruling him out for the rest of the season.

Head-Maarek moved swiftly to reunite Thierry Jarnet with Treve so is unconcerned on that score - and also believes talk about the importance of a low draw is overplayed.

The Aidan O'Brien pair Ruler Of The World and Leading Light have been drawn in stall five and six.

"The draw is no problem," said the Chantilly trainer.

"There are good horses everywhere and there are bad horses everywhere, the best horse will win.

"At this distance all the talk about the draw is crazy. I could understand it if the race was over a mile at Longchamp but over 2,400 metres? Give me a break.

"My filly needs to be behind horses anyway, that is how she runs. The best horse will win, we won't use the draw as an excuse.

"In our case it could have been worse if we were drawn on the inside anyway because of her style. As long as there is pace in the race there should be no problems and there usually is when the foreign horses run.

"The new jockey will make no difference to the filly but it does to Frankie. It is unfortunate that he got a bad injury doing his job.

"Jarnet knows her well, he rode all the time in the beginning.

"The best horse will win, I'm sure of that." 

"There are good horses everywhere and there are bad horses everywhere, the best horse will win" - Criquette Head-Maarek

Orfevre's trainer Yasutoshi Ikee wants to "set the record straight" for last year's runner-up, who collided with a rail after streaking to the front.

Ikee admits that Orfevre, who has been drawn in stall eight, can be his own worst enemy at times, but he has been delighted with his charge since his easy victory in the Prix Foy.

"His preparation has gone very well. It was a serious workout (on Wednesday) and he came through without hesitation and once he was in front, he finished well," said Ikee.

"Naturally (he can be his own worst enemy). There's some very good horses in the race but we know when he works well and if everything goes well on Sunday, I think he can win.

"I really thought we would have won last year, I was very disappointed.

"Orfevre had a relapse that day but I really hope he can give the Japanese fans something to cheer on Sunday.

"I want to set the record straight."

There is a strong second string to the Far East challenge with the Japanese Derby winner, Kizuna, a son of Deep Impact, well fancied after holding off the Investec Derby winner Ruler Of The World in the Prix Niel.

Andre Fabre is responsible for five of the 18-runner field, with his Prix du Jockey Club winner Intello (stall nine) his best hope, according to the bookmakers.

Flintshire (seven), Ocovango (13), Godolphin's Penglai Pavilion (10) and Pirika (three) complete Fabre's nap hand of runners.

"I think the ground will be good to soft come Sunday which Flintshire should be able to handle," said Fabre.

"I've been very happy with him and as for the draw, I always think that is only a problem if there is no pace.

"I'm hoping for a good pace, then there will be no problems.

"For instance, horses like Ocovango and Penglai Pavilion are strong gallopers so they are likely to be going forward.

"A strong pace may help Intello but we've never had a problem with him settling. He's a very handy horse - he's like a polo pony."

When asked which of his five runners held the best claims, Fabre said: "Everybody knows the ratings of the horses, far better than I do, and in a race like the Arc the ratings are key."

Intello will be partnered by Olivier Peslier in his role as retained rider to the owners, the Wertheimer brothers, and he will be looking for back-to-back Arcs after his shock win on Solemia.

The success story of the season in the saddle has been Johnny Murtagh, revitalised since he began training earlier this year.

He again partners Novellist, trained by Andreas Wohler in Germany and a most impressive winner of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

"I just keep going back to the King George. What he did that day was very impressive," Murtagh told At The Races.

"You can read too much into the trial race if you want, but King George day was the day he showed everyone what he was capable of.

"He's a very high-class horse. He's going into the race with a good profile.

"It's going to be a brilliant Arc, but I believe I have the horse."

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