Trainer Victoria Haigh reports on recent events in French racing and on the prospects for Treve
On Friday, after a successful morning on the pistes with my horses in training, I drove over to Saint Cloud which is about 12 miles away. It is a pleasant car ride and takes in the Towers at La Defence, the business centre of Paris and l’Arc De Triomphe across the River Seine.
I didn’t want to miss this race day as it was the return of the super equine filly Treve, the winner of the last two running a of the Arc De Triomphe, France’s great horse race in October. I had lunch in the Panoramic Restaurant – where one can see the Eiffel Tower – and had some very tasty smoked salmon, whilst chatting to one of the French men who is always at Saint Cloud playing on the horses. My French must improve rapidly, otherwise I will continue to sit there in complete oblivion at what was being said to me. The problem of being able to speak French to a level of “getting by OK” is that the locals think you can understand everything, which is not the case for me.
I said a quick hello to Harry Herbert and Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, the representatives for Al Shaqab Racing, one of the al Thani family’s racing operation who owns Treve. They were obviously nervous for the filly’s prospects that day as at the French Oaks trials, held here a couple of weeks ago, their £5 million purchase was beaten.
Treve looked magnificent in the paddock and seemed very calm with her two handlers. Although first in the stalls and in there for a good while, she broke well and had a very good race to win easily beating some very smart horses by several lengths. I was standing next to the connections in the stands and they were overjoyed that the filly won. She seems now on target for a third consecutive attempt at winning the Arc taking in some other races along the way.
Sunday was The Prix De Jockey Club at Chantilly and this was duly won by another of Andre Fabre’s class horses, New Bay. This horse will now be a challenger to Treve’s potential Crown as he is now being aimed at the Arc also. Irish raider Aidan O’Brien was second with one of his three runners in the race.
I am thoroughly looking forward to this years Arc meeting as I was there last October to cheer on Treve. My fingers are crossed for a repeat.
Victoria Haigh is a former jockey who is now a racehorse trainer based in France. She is the first British racehorse trainer to hold a French training license in Maisons-Laffitte, Paris for fifty years. Follow her on Twitter at @HaighVictoria.
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