CALLING THE TUNE; DAY THREE; Lloyd-Webber's Fugue Hops on Starlight Express to Glory

Daily Mail (London), June 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

CALLING THE TUNE; DAY THREE; Lloyd-Webber's Fugue Hops on Starlight Express to Glory


Byline: MARCUS TOWNEND REPORTS FROM ASCOT

THE stage was set for a command performance by Treve but it was The Fugue, named after a technical musical term, who called the tune in the Group One Prince of Wales's Stakes.

The John Gosden-trained filly, third to Al Kazeem in the race last year, has the petite feet of a ballerina and relished the quickening conditions, bouncing off the ground to win by a length and three-quarters from Magician in a course record 10-furlong time of 2min 1.9sec.

Her success was hailed by owner and composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber (below) as his greatest moment in racing. He is the man who named The Fugue, bred by his wife Madeleine, and one of the few who knows what it means!

But while the William Buickridden 11-2 winner floated over the turf, Treve travelled like a rusty bike with a flat tyre. The 2013 Arc winner and 8-13 favourite trained by Criquette Head-Maarek and ridden by Frankie Dettori, was only a length further back in third but the writing was on the wall before the home straight.

It would be an exaggeration to say Treve is a pale shadow of the 2013 model but if someone had suggested last autumn that she would be beaten on her first two runs this summer they would have been patted on the head sympathetically and told to lie down.

The ground or a physical issue might have been the cause of yesterday's disappointing effort. But if and when she is brought back for an autumn campaign and a crack at a second Arc in October, she will have lost her air of invincibility.

A crestfallen Dettori said: 'She went down to the start really badly. Maybe it was the ground? I was following The Fugue but struggling to keep up with her and never in my comfort zone.' Buick never seemed out of his on The Fugue. The jockey has endured some mighty highs and lows with his admirable partner, whose 16 races have included 13 at Group One level, four of them now ending in victory.

The ones that got away have included a nightmare passage when third to Was in the 2012 Oaks and two agonising defeats at the Breeders' Cup, including having victory snatched away in the final stride by Magician in November, a reverse so hard to take Buick exited the Santa Anita track in tears. …

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