Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 2012: Prized Arc eludes Japan’s Orfevre [VIDEO]
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The stage was set for the Japanese to claim their first ever win in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp when Orferve entered the richest race on turf in raging hot form.
In 92 years of running the race, the Japanese have never claimed the Arc despite frequently sending their best stayers.
This year was set to be different with four year old boom colt Orfevre carrying the hopes of a nation.
Winning Japan’s Triple Crown before tackling Europe, the Japanese colt won comfortably in his trial run at Longchamp over 2400m.
At the 200m mark of the Arc, it was just a matter of how much Orfevre was going to win by.
With the eyes of a nation on his shoulders, many in attendance, Orfevre did everything he could possibly have done to win and looked the winner from the 400m mark to the 50m mark, where he was overrun by eventual winner Solemia.
Given a luckless run from barrier 18, the widest in the race, Christophe Soumillon needed to create history to be the first Arc winner to win from wider than barrier 14.
Going straight to the back of the field when the gates opened, Orfevre was given cover by pace making stable mate Aventino.
With everything left in the tank around the final bend, Aventino shifted out to give Orfevre a run and Soumillon charged down the outside of the field to take up the lead at the 300m mark.
The Japanese had looked to have finally won the elusive Arc. Indeed, the caller was convinced he’d won.
Olivier Pesilier mounted a late charge Solemia to reel in Orfevre as they approached the winning post.
From the back of the field, Orfevre was tiring and Solemia had enjoyed an on pace run near the front of the field to make a late burst.
Known as “Mr Arc” for his three previous wins in the race, Pesilier and Solemia dropped the jaws of a nation who’d begun celebrating when Orfevre looked the only winning chance at the 200m mark.
From a better draw Orfevre would have won the race but the wide gate just proved too much to come back from.
Although disappointed, the Japanese will not give up. Whether trainer Yasutoshi Ikee opts to bring Orfevre back to Longchamp for another tilt next year or he brings a better horse, they will not give up.
The Japanese continue to shine on the global stage, shuttling their best across the globe in search of the world’s richest races.
In 2006, Japanese duo Delta Blues and Pop Rock quinella-ed the Melbourne Cup before returning to Japan.
2012 will not be the last we hear of Orfevre. Whether he returns as a stallion or a stayer, Orfevre’s story in the Arc was one for the ages.
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