09/12/2014 2:34PM

Can Treve regain good form in Prix Vermeille?


Treve, unbeatable last year at age 3 but winless in two starts this year, will try to position herself for a defense of her Prix de l’Arc d’Triomphe crown when she starts Sunday at Longchamp in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille.

Treve is one of 10 fillies and mares entered in the Vermeille, one of three Arc preps at Longchamp along with the Prix Niel for 3-year-olds and the open Prix Foy. The card also includes the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp at one mile.

Treve sharply won the 2013 Vermeille before crushing her rivals in the Arc last fall, winning the race by five lengths for her fifth victory without a defeat, but her campaign this year has been, by her 2013 standards, disappointing. In the Prix Ganay on April 14, she was outfinished by the top-class older horse Cirrus des Aigles, who had a fitness edge on the comebacking filly in a race that became a test of stamina in the running..

:: Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Results, replays, charts, and more

Favored to rebound June 18 in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, Treve came somewhat one-paced past the finishing post in third, beaten almost three lengths by The Fugue.

Treve was reported to have raced with a sore back in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and she was held out of competition over the summer to focus on a fall campaign. A rebound Sunday will be widely assumed, but the chance remains that Treve might not ever scale the heights she reached last season.

Trainer Criquette Head-Maarek is attempting to shake things up by changing riders: Frankie Dettori, the retained jockey for owner Al Shaqab Racing, is out, and Thierry Jarnet, who rode Treve her first three starts and was aboard in the Arc after Dettori was injured, has the ride back on Sunday.

Treve’s opposition isn’t of the cream-puff variety. Pomology, in from England for trainer John Gosden, is unbeaten in four starts and absolutely stays the Vermeille’s 12-furlong trip. Pomology defeated another Gosden runner, Sultanina, in the Lancashire Oaks, and Sultanina, also a Vermeille runner, returned to capture the Group 1 Nassau. The improving Siljan’s Saga was part of a three-horse photo in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last out.

The Prix Foy has only six runners, with Flintshire, Ruler of The World, and Spiritjim the primary players. Spiritjim has finished first in seven of his nine career starts and won his Group 1 debut last out in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud but this week was disqualified from that victory because of a positive clenbuterol test. He remains a formidable participant and has better recent form than Flintshire, who has yet to fulfill his apparent potential for trainer Andre Fabre, and Ruler of The World, the 2013 English Derby winner who hasn’t raced since a 13th-place dud this past spring in Dubai.

The eight-horse Niel includes Secretariat Stakes winner Adelaide, who makes his final European start before shipping to Australia for a run at the Cox Plate. The horse to watch, though, might be the Group 1-winning Ectot, a winner in 4 of 5 starts who tries a distance longer than one mile for the first time while making just his second start at age 3. The Fabre-trained Gallante won the Grand Prix de Paris last out and appears still to be progressive

Europe’s top miler, Kingman, isn’t in the Moulin, but the only horse ever to beat him, Night of Thunder, is. Night of Thunder defeated Kingman by a half-length in the English 2000 Guineas and should appreciate turning back to one mile after finishing last of eight in the 10-furlong Eclipse Stakes. The multiple Group 1-winning filly Esoterique merits respect, as does Toronado, who was no match for Kingman in the Sussex Stakes last out.

The first of the major races Sunday, the Niel, has a scheduled post of 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

Breeders’ Cup berth at stake at The Curragh

A big stakes card at The Curragh in Ireland on Sunday includes the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In race for the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Aidan O’Brien has four of the 10 entrants in the Moyglare Stud, and two of the five – including the favored Gleneagles – in the Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.