- French-trained Treve wins Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
- First horse in 40 years to win back to back Arcs
- 11-1 shot Treve given perfect ride by jockey Thierry Jarnet
- Japanese challenge never materializes
Four-year-old filly Treve defied her critics and the starting odds to secure back to back wins in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamps Sunday.
Given the perfect ride by jockey Thierry Jarnet, 11-1 shot Treve stormed to the front in the final furlong to win from Flintshire and favored English filly Taghrooda.
Unbeatable as a three-year-old, Treve had been winless after being kept in training, until giving a timely reminder of the old sporting adage that form is temporary, class is permanent.
It was a fairytale victory for her trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, who has twice beaten life-threatening illnesses, and knew her horse had similar fighting qualities.
She controversially took the decision to take famous jockey Frankie Dettori off the filly, replacing him with Jarnet, who rode Treve to the 2013 success and was winning his fourth Arc.
"This is a great personal satisfaction for me," said the 66-year-old from the famous Head racing dynasty, who have secured a string of Arc victories over the years as jockeys and trainers.
Her grandfather William Head and father Alec trained two and four Arc winners respectively, while brother Freddie won three as a jockey.
Head-Maarek has now trained three winners, the first back in 1979 before Treve's double triumph, but she believes this is her greatest achievement.
"It is the best race I have ever won with all the problems with her back and hoof and criticism aimed at her. This is brilliant, I'm not yet back down to earth yet! It is my best day," she added
Treve is only the seventh horse to win successive Arcs and the first since the Vincent O'Brien-trained Alleged was ridden to a 1978 success by legendary English jockey Lester Piggott.
Andre Fabre's Flintshire rode a strong race, ahead of Oaks and King George heroine Taghrooda and St. Leger winner Kingston Hill.
But the three-pronged Japanese challenge never materialized with Harp Star the best finisher in sixth place.
The autumn showdown in Paris has the richest prize purse in the sport of flat racing at $5 million and attracts the leading Thoroughbred horses in the world to the French capital.