Treve’s Return Evokes Memories of Corrida


All being well, Treve will make her first start as a five-year-old at Saint-Cloud on May 29th, the first steps of a campaign whose ultimate goal is an historic third win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October. The race chosen for Treve’s reappearance this year is the Prix Corrida. It couldn’t be a more appropriate starting point, as the Group 2 contest commemorates the only other filly or mare to win the Arc twice.

An Arc winner already features on the list of Prix Corrida winners as Solemia was successful in 2012 before going on to win at Longchamp later that season.

Corrida was first successful in the Arc as a four-year-old in 1936 and won it again twelve months later to become the third dual winner – Treve was the seventh to win it twice. Corrida had also contested the Arc as a three-year-old but finished only third in her first attempt, beaten in a finish of necks behind two other three-year-old fillies Samos and Peniche. Corrida’s two subsequent wins proved to be the first of six Arc victories for her owner Marcel Boussac, a record total which still stands.

A full and fascinating account (written on the eve of the 2010 Arc) of Corrida’s racing and breeding career by Kellie Reilly may be found here.

Corrida’s story does not have a happy ending – perhaps it is for the best that her exact fate is unknown – but we do have a brief first-hand account of her more peaceful broodmare days (although it was war-time) at Marcel Boussac’s Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard in Normandy thanks to Henry Thétard’s book Histoire et Secrets du Turf.

In the autumn of 1941, guided by a Monsieur Mignot, Thétard visits ‘the most important breeding establishment which we currently have in France’. ‘There is no turfiste’ says Thétard, ‘who does not know that six winners of the Prix du Jockey Club were born there in fifteen years*, as well as a number of famous mares, including Corrida, twice winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.’

Boussac stood four stallions at Fresnay-Le-Buffard at the time of Thétard’s visit, among them Corrida’s half-brother Goya whose wins included the Gimcrack Stakes and the St James’s Palace Stakes. Goya’s sire Tourbillon was still standing there too, and went on to sire three of Boussac’s Arc winners, namely Djebel, Caracalla and Coronation. Tourbillon was also the sire of Coronation’s dam in what is one of the most famous, and extreme, examples of inbreeding.

‘I left the four patriarchs to their meditations’ wrote Thétard, ‘to pay a visit to their harem, the sixty-six broodmares roaming the surrounding paddocks. There too, I remade some old acquaintances. Beside a fence, near a herd of cows lying in the lush grass, this fine chestnut with the white face is Corrida, the pearl of the stud. It’s four years now since the invincible mare  left behind her racing career to become a mother. What had she done in her new role?’

‘”She’s not had much luck so far” replies M. Mignot. In her first year she had a couple of premature twins, something which happens maybe once in 300 pregnancies. The following year, she foaled a beatiful grey filly, El Gaza, by the Aga Khan’s stallion Mahmoud, but she’ll never be able to race after meeting with an accident in the paddock. This year she was barren and has been covered by Tourbillon.’

A footnote in Thétard’s account at this point informs us that the result of this union between Tourbillon and Corrida was Coaraze, the 1945 Prix du Jockey Club winner. It is entirely thanks to Coaraze, later exported to Brazil where he became a leading sire, that Corrida’s name survives distantly in pedigrees to this day.

Before his export to South America, Coaraze sired the 1952 Prix Vermeille winner La Mirambule who was then second in the Arc. At stud, her winners included the 1962 Irish Derby winner Tambourine and Nasram who caused an upset when beating that year’s Derby winner Santa Claus in the 1964 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Besides that pair, another of La Mirambule’s sons to have a successful stud career was In The Purple who stood in New Zealand.

La Mirambule is also the ancestress, in the direct female line (seventh dam), of the 2010 Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey Club winner Lope de Vega who was Europe’s leading first-season sire in 2014 when his runners included the Dewhurst Stakes winner Belardo.

*Marcel Boussac went on to win the Prix du Jockey Club a record twelve times

[Image of Treve courtesy of France Sire]


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