Local champion Orfevre will be aiming to avenge his last-gasp Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe defeat as he again clashes with Solemia in Sunday’s Japan Cup in Tokyo.
The Japanese raider appeared to have the Longchamp feature won, only to hang across the track in the closing stages and let Solemia snatch the prize by a neck.
Yasutoshi Ikee’s charge will have home advantage this time and will be reunited with jockey Kenichi Ikezoe after Christophe Soumillon partnered the four-year-old in his two French outings.
“In the very end of the Arc, his bad habit came out,” Ikee said.
“After he crossed the finish line, he accelerated so much that the rider couldn’t even shake hands with (Oliver) Peslier (Solemia’s jockey).
“To think that he still had so much left just makes it all the worse.
“Last week Ikezoe rode him up the hill course and, like in his last race, he moved in to the rail when he got out in front.
“There was no other problem with his workout and I think his movement was pretty good.
“I’d say he was in almost too good a shape for the Arc so he wouldn’t have got back to that point in such a short time, but he has slowly put on muscle.
“The main thing is that he can be able to run balanced and straight. If he can do that, we should be able to get results.
“I hope he can run a race fitting for a horse that represents Japan.”
Solemia was something of a surprise winner of the Arc after previously finishing third in the Prix Vermeille.
Trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias told japanracing.jp Orfevre was again the one to beat.
“I think that Orfevre is the strongest runner in this field,” he said.
“I had a very hard time beating him in the Arc and was fortunate to win.
“This time around, he has the advantage of running on home ground, while the filly has come a long way over and tired, which will make it even more difficult for her to win against him.
“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.
“But she gradually recovered in four to five days and regained some weight.
“Solemia is used to softer ground and has won on this type of going, but she has also run well on firm ground, too.
“More importantly, she will find the long home stretch to her liking.”