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The Arc 2012 runner up,star Japanese middle-distance performer, Orfevre, will be hoping to improve his already impressive course record at Longchamp on October 6 when he bids to make amends for last season’s agonising last-gasp defeat in the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
For supporters of the top Japanese performer, memories of last year’s race will still bring sleepless nights, the Christophe Soumillon-ridden four-year-old having appeared home and hosed when powering three-lengths clear entering the final furlong of Europe’s premier middle-distance contest.
Just when it appeared the race was in his pocket, the son of Stay Gold began to idle at exactly the moment that French filly Solemia came with a withering late burst that carried her into the lead and to a memorable neck success.
Those who have followed the Japanese wonder horse's career to date will know that in 2011 he won the Japanese Triple Crown. He won the first leg, the Satsuki Sho (the Japanese 200 Guineas), beating the odds on favourite Sadamu Patek by 3 lengths.
A month later he completed the second leg in the Tokyo Yushun (the Japanese Derby) coming late and fast to defeat Win Variation.
The horse then had 4 months off the course until returning in October to again get the better of Win Variation in the Group 2 Shimbun Hai. He then completed the Triple Crown, by humiliating Win Variation for the third time, in the Kikuka Sho.
This season Orfevre’s preparation has been geared very much around a return visit to Paris having been given a long break from early spring until returning to the fray at Longchamp on September 15, running a fine trial for the main event when easily accounting for Very Nice Name by three-lengths in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy.
That successful return to the track convinced many observers that they had just seen this term’s winner and Betfair punters were quick to step in and support the Far Eastern raider down to his current odds of 5/2 favourite.
Clearly at home at Longchamp, capable of showing his form on a range of ground, (but undoubtedly on the testing surface that is more than likely for the conditions at Longchamp), and sure to be ‘trained to the minute’ as he seeks to atone for the shock of his defeat 12 months ago, Orfevre will be carrying the hopes of a nation on his back as well as jockey Christophe Soumillon and genuinely appears to have a favourite’s chance.