04/25/2014 4:24PM

Treve makes season debut in Ganay

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There is no soft opening to the Group 1 portion of the European flat-racing season, with super-filly Treve set to take on the wonderful 8-year-old gelding Cirrus des Aigles in the Prix Ganay on Sunday at Longchamp.

Treve makes her first start since setting the racing world abuzz with a five-length win Oct. 6 in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where she left the top-class Japanese horse Orfevre floundering in her wake. It was Treve’s fifth win from five starts and third Group 1, and no rival has ever gotten within 1 3/4 lengths of her.

Sheikh Joann al Thani’s Al Shaqab racing purchased Treve last summer, leaving her in the care of trainer Criquette Head-Maarek. The Head family bred Treve, a Motivator filly who failed to meet a reserve at auction and was campaigned by the Head’s racing stable before Sheikh Joann bought her.

Frankie Dettori, Al Shaqab’s principal rider, injured his ankle before the Arc and had to give up the mount on Treve to Thierry Jarnet, but Dettori is back on the filly Sunday, with Jarnet named to pilot the Head-Maarek-trained Belle de Crecy, who will serve as Treve’s pacemaker. Head-Maarek has reported that Treve has trained forwardly for her 4-year-old debut, and the filly has won on ground ranging from good to soft.

This is the first meeting of Treve and Cirrus des Aigles, who won the 2012 Ganay by six lengths after finishing a well-beaten third in the race’s 2011 edition. An 18-time winner from 55 career starts, Cirrus des Aigles hasn’t won at the Group 1 level since his Ganay score two springs ago, but he has not lost much from his peak form, as evidenced by a strong second-place finish to Gentildonna last out in the $5 million Sheema Classic at Meydan. Moreover, Cirrus des Aigles, through the seasons, has compiled a remarkable record at Longchamp, where he has gone 10-5-1 from 16 starts.

Besides the rabbit, there will be four or five others in the Ganay – but all eyes will be on Treve and Cirrus des Aigles.