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Arc de Triomphe Market Coming to Boil After Key Weekend Trials

Next month’s eagerly anticipated renewal of the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on October 7 at Longchamp is boiling up into a fascinating contest that currently sees Japanese challenger Orfevre now sharing ante-post favouritism in the racing odds with last year’s hugely impressive winner Danedream at odds of 9/2.

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The Japanese have long since proved their horses are able to compete with the very best in the world in top international company, the success of Victoire Pisa in the 2011 Dubai World Cup at Meydan being the highest profile example of their ability to send horses around the globe to plunder top prizes.

Even before his victory in Sunday’s key Arc trial, the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy, Orfevre, winner of the Japanese Triple Crown last season, was being taken very seriously by seasoned racing fans for Europe’s premier middle-distance contest. Although his win would best be described as ‘workmanlike’, he nonetheless did the business on his first start in Europe, no mean achievement for a horse who last seen in action back in his homeland in June when winning the £1.13 million Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen over 11 furlongs at Hanshin.

Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee had sensibly taken the precaution of booking a top French jockey for his charge and the move proved well judged as Christophe Soumillon steered the four-year-old son of Stay Gold to a comfortable length success of the very smart Meandre, a win that will likely have put him spot on for the main event over the same course and distance three weeks later.

Along with the great German mare Danedream, (who romped away with last year’s Arc when slamming the very talented Shareta by five lengths), Orfevre will spearhead a very strong non-French contingent determined to ensure the prize does not remain on home soil.

Danedream won with plenty in hand in Group 1 company at Baden Baden in August having got the better of a classic encounter with John Gosden’s Nathaniel in the ‘King George’ at Ascot a few weeks earlier, while Snow Fairy, trained at Newmarket by Ed Dunlop, looked to be on the very top of her game when beating Nathaniel in the Group 1 Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs at Leopardstown recently.

With local hope Shareta having impressively landed the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and another top French horse Saonois also looking good when coming home in front in the Group 2 Prix Niel half an hour earlier, this year’s Arc looks as good as any we’ve enjoyed for quite some years and promises to provide another tremendous spectacle for anyone who opts to watch racing online with bet365.

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