Thierry Jarnet: Back at the top
Little more than a fortnight ago, Thierry Jarnet probably wasn't thinking too hard about his answer when he politely told an interviewer at Longchamp: "I hope to be able to take part in this beautiful race again."
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At 46, making him by four years Frankie Dettori's senior, even a recent renaissance in Jarnet's fortunes - aided by his relationship with the marvellous Moonlight Cloud - could not have allowed the veteran rider to think that he would have many, if indeed any, more chances to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for a third time.
Instead not only will he take the reins aboard one of the race's leading players, but a contender who he already knows inside out having ridden Treve to victory on her first three starts, including her memorable destruction of the previous course record in the Prix de Diane.
For those who have already backed Treve to win Sunday's Arc, the loss of Dettori in the saddle might be causing concern, especially for those whose only previous sight of the filly came in her latest Prix Vermeille success when the Italian appeared to strike up such a good relationship with his mount.
Yet the truth is that Jarnet had shown just as considerable a synergy with Treve previously at Chantilly, as the replay testifies. Indeed, there's something almost theatrically Dettori-esque as Jarnet goes surging into the lead one and a half furlongs out.
Nor do the similarities between the pair end in an American riding style that is based more on finesse than force.
Jarnet slowly slid away from the international spotlight after losing, in 1996, the French jockeys' championship title that he had claimed for the previous four seasons to Olivier Peslier, a situation that was not helped by an accident in the parade ring at Saint-Cloud keeping him out of action for most of 1998.
Despite separating from Andre Fabre in 2000, he continued to enjoy success on the domestic scene, but struggled to achieve the same performance overseas (with the exception of his 2002 victory aboard Ange Gabriel in the Hong Kong Vase).
Indeed, quite remarkably Jarnet is still to ride a winner in the UK since Yoush took a handicap at Epsom on Derby Day in 1995. British punters interested only in the domestic scene can therefore be forgiven for wondering exactly why Jarnet has got the call-up.
However, having gone five years without a major success to his name, Jarnet took the French Guineas in 2011 aboard Tin Horse and since then has enjoyed a remarkable revival, mopping up a host of other major prizes thanks to his association with Moonlight Cloud, including two Group Ones within the space of eight days at Deauville just a couple of months ago.
In short, Jarnet's career has gone exactly the way that Dettori surely hoped his might when back at the end of May he returned from his ban for a failed drugs test.
This race was expected by many to have marked Dettori's return to the big time. Instead victory for Treve and the man who would surely still have been riding her in any case but for her sale to Sheikh Joann Al Thani after the French Oaks may end up serving as a reminder to his colleague - who will be missing riding in his first Arc since he was teenager - that racing's rollercoaster can still go up as well as down.