THE dream team of trainer David O’Meara and jockey Daniel Tudhope are the toast of Yorkshire racing after their unheralded Move In Time finished fastest of all to land the Prix de l’Abbaye – France’s premier sprint.
The victory in a frantic finish was the beginning of a historic afternoon on the Bois de Boulogne at Longchamp which culminated with the fantastic filly Treve becoming the first horse since the Lester Piggott-ridden Alleged in 1978 to win back to back renewals of the blue riband Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Runner-up in his last three races, including a narrow defeat to the Amy Ryan-inspired Blaine at York’s Ebor meeting, Move In Time is yet another horse who has been rejuvenated since switching to O’Meara’s upwardly mobile stables at Nawton near York.
The gaps opened for Move In Time in this Group One – hot favourite Sole Power was among those to have no luck in running – and the six-year-old pounced later on from Rangali with Moviesta back in third for Hambleton trainer Bryan Smart and football manager Harry Redknapp.
It was a second Group One success in just over a month for Tudhope who won the prestigious Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock aboard O’Meara’s G Force.
“I can’t believe it, to ride a winner at this meeting is fantastic,” said The Yorkshire Post’s racing columnist.
“There was a lot of shouting going on, as you can imagine – there were a lot of people getting a bit tight on the rail. But I managed to get a little gap, just on the outside of them and it worked out well.
“I don’t ride here very often and it is difficult to know where the line is. I’m delighted for David and the whole team.”
Move In Time’s owners include Reg Bond, a longstanding patron of Yorkshire racing, and there were emotional scenes as shell-shocked connections waited for their champion to return to the winner’s enclosure.
“Years ago, when I was riding over jumps, I had never even heard of the Abbaye, but I certainly have now,” said O’Meara who was among those to serve his racing apprenticeship with Sue and Harvey Smith at Bingley.
There was disappointment when John Quinn’s The Wow Signal finished last of nine in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, a race handed to Full Mast in the stewards’ room after the demotion of Aidan O’Brien’s Gleneagles because of interference in the closing stages.
Malton-based Quinn was phlegmatic and believes the two-year-old will still be a top prospect next year. He said: “He’s been on the go a long time, he was a bit flat, and they went no pace. He was in the perfect position, so it was very disappointing. But having said that, he’s won a Coventry and he has won a Morny. He deserves a break.”
However, the star of the show was Treve who returned to winning ways for the first time since last year’s Arc following one of the all-time great training performances by Criquette Head-Maarek.
She never lost faith in the horse which will now be retired to stud, even when well-beaten by The Fugue in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and when Al Shaqab Racing chose to dispense with the services of retained rider Frankie Dettori and reunite Treve with Thierry Jarnet.
She did benefit from a favourable draw on the inner, a stroke of luck denied to Oaks and King George heroine Taghrooda who finished a creditable third for Paul Hanagan and St Leger winner Kingston Hill, who was back in fourth.
Hanagan, forced very wide in the home straight, described how he spotted a horse flash up the inside running rail, but nothing should detract from Treve’s triumph.
Head-Maarek said: “When you bring your horse to the racecourse it’s because you think you’re going to win, but with all the problems that we’ve had, everyone was saying she shouldn’t run, she should go to stud, she’s cooked. I’ve had so many things, but she proved she’s come back to her best. She’s got that fantastic turn of foot and that’s what she’s shown again.”