Orfevre (left) zips up the inside under Christophe Soumillon at LongchampPICTURE: ScoopDyga.com
Workmanlike Orfevre wins Prix Foy for Japan
Report: France, Sunday
Longchamp: Qatar Prix Foy (Group 2) 1m4f, turf, 4yo+ colts, f/m
ORFEVRE cemented his position as a credible challenger for the Arc, but those looking for an eyecatching performance will have been left disappointed as the 2011 Japanese horse of the year was solid, rather than spectacular.
With only five lining up for the race, including Orfevre's pacemake Aventino, a tactical affair was always likely, and so it proved, with the rank outsider setting a very slow gallop through the early stages, before the pace cranked up through the middle into the end of the race.
Christophe Soumillon always looked in control of the race on Orfevre, despite his mount pulling a touch when the gallop was just a dawdle, and when given a free run up the rail, the four-year-old did make smooth progress from last to first.
Once in front Orfevre comfortably held Joshua Tree, who battled away well in second before eventually being collared by Meandre for Andre Fabre and Maxime Guyon.
Christophe Soumillon: impressedPICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
Betfred were the most impressed, making Orfevre their new Arc favourite at 7-2 (from 5) along with William Hill at 4-1 from the same price, while most firms were happy just to trim the colt half a point to 9-2.
Soumillon was impressed with his first feel of Orferve on a racecourse although he added that the horse would need to improved to land the big race in three weeks.
He said: "He hadn't run for a long time and he was learning about Longchamp. I was feeling how he was on the track and it was a good lesson. I was very happy.
"It's not easy to win first time at Longchamp so it was a good first time out here. You can see for yourself that in two strides he just hit the front easily.
"It's exactly what you want for an Arc de Triomphe horse three weeks before the race. He'll need to improve a few lengths to try and win the Arc but I think the trainer has made a perfect job so far."