04/27/2014 10:36AM

Cirrus des Aigles wins stretch duel to take Prix Ganay


Cirrus des Aigles won a ferocious stretch-long duel with Treve, sending the filly to her first defeat Sunday at Longchamp in a tremendous renewal of the Group 1 Prix Ganay.

Cirrus des Aigles carried three pounds more than Treve but already had raced twice this year, while Treve was starting for the first time since she won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in November, and Cirrus des Aigles’s fitness and recency edge might have made the difference in a 1 3/16 miles race contested over very soft ground.

Treve’s stablemate and pacesetter, Belle de Crecy, opened a long early lead with Joshua Tree tracking and the rest of the field many lengths behind, and the race’s real running began about three furlongs out, when Christophe Soumillon began letting Cirrus des Aigles run up into contention along the inside.

Treve, racing fifth, accelerated under Frankie Dettori to reach Cirrus des Aigles’s flank with about a quarter-mile left to run, and the pair – Cirrus on the inside, Treve on the outside – sprinted for the line in tandem. Treve might have poked her head in front a little more than a furlong from the finish, but Cirrus des Aigles regained the advantage within two strides and pushed out to a head victory in a thrilling contest.

Eight-year-old Cirrus des Aigles, trained by Corine Barande-BarBe, was making his 56th start and won for the 19th time, and though he had not captured a Group 1 race since the 2012 Ganay, he clearly and remarkably has not begun to decline with age.

Treve lost her sheen of invincibility but little more than that, tasting defeat for the first time in six starts. She had won the Arc so dazzlingly that victory in the Ganay seemed almost inevitable, but Treve found herself in a bruising battle Sunday over the kind of going Cirrus des Aigles has always relished, and with her seasonal debut behind her, Treve should have a good chance to turn the tables on Cirrus des Aigles if, as expected, the two meet again in the Prince of Wales Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting.