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Japan Cup to see Arc de Triomphe rematch
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.
Poor Orfevre, beaten a neck in the Arc and a nose in the Japan Cup both times from the far outside post. His trainer is right, he might be the best horse in the world right now. Stamina and turn of foot. From reading on the internet, a lot of people think that Gentildonna should have been taken down and Orfevre declared the winner last night.
I'm looking forward to seeing this year's Japan Cup. I enjoy watching international racing, and this is one of the premiere races in the world. I did see Jakkalberry win here in the St. Leger. Nice horse. Of course, most excited about seeing Solemia and Orfevre. Good luck to all, and may we have a fabulous, exciting, safe race.
Watch out for the inconstent Red Cadeux; when he gets his mind on running, he can beat any horse in the world that they put up against him. The question is: Which Red Cadeux will show up this time?
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