11/22/2012 3:33PM

Japan Cup to see Arc de Triomphe rematch

APRH Photo
Solemia, an upset winner of the Arc at 33-1, is making her last career start.

The French filly Solemia and the Japanese colt Orfevre, first and second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Oct. 7, meet again in Sunday’s $6.5 million Japan Cup at Toyko Racecourse.

This time, the advantage may be in favor of Orfevre.

The winner of the 2011 Japanese Triple Crown, Orfevre will be favored to win the Grade 1 Japan Cup, which is run over about 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Solemia, an upset winner of the Arc at 33-1, is making her last career start.

Earlier this week at a press conference, trainer Carlos Laffon Parias warned that the journey to Japan took a toll on Solemia.

“This having been her first overseas trip, and over long distance, she seemed to be a little bit tired on arrival and had lost a little weight,” he said. “She gradually recovered in four to five days and regained some weight.

“It is difficult to prepare a horse to its best form after a long trip and having to cope with a completely new environment.”

Owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Solemia, 4, will be ridden by Olivier Peslier, who described Orfevre as “the strongest runner in the field.

“I had a hard time beating him in the Arc and was fortunate to win,”

Peslier said at a press conference earlier this week. “He was remarkably strong and a probable winner in that trace. He has the advantage of running on home ground.”

Orfevre, 4, is trained by Yasutoshi Ikee for the Sunday Racing partnership.

Earlier this year, Orfevre won the Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen in Japan in June and the Group 2 Prix Foy in Paris in September. In the Arc, Orfevre led in the final furlong, but idled late and was beaten a neck.

“I think our loss in the Arc was a typical loss for this horse,” Ikee said. “If he would just run normally, he would be the number-one horse in the world.”

The Japan Cup has a field of 17, including five foreign-based runners – Jakkalberry, Mount Athos, Red Cadeux, Solemia, and Sri Putra. There are no American-based runners, but Jakkalberry did win the American St. Leger at Arlington Park in August. More recently, Jakkalberry was third in the Melbourne Cup on Nov. 6.

Aside from Orfevre, the best hope among the Japanese-trained runners is Tosen Jordan, runner-up in the 2011 Japan Cup.