Ikee: ‘Orfevre only 75 per cent before Foy’
Saturday 29 September 2012
Orfevre was only three-quarters fit when he won the Prix Foy at Longchamp last month, trainer Yasutoshi Ikee has revealed.
The Japanese Triple Crown winner was backed down to 7-2 outright favouritism with many firms for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after the news broke that Snow Fairy had been pulled from the race. Orfevre bids to become the first horse from Japan to win next Sunday’s event.
Orfevre brushed aside Meandre in the Prix Foy, run over the Arc distance, to confirm his well-being on his first run outside the Far East under Christophe Soumillon.
“It was his first experience of running in Europe,” Ikee told Racing UK's Planet Turf. “He’s improving his fitness and he was only 75 per cent last time. Soumillion said it was a perfect trial.”
Although the pace was slow, Orfevre injected lightening pace into the race five furlongs from home. The son of Stay Gold covered the 400m (2f) from the 1000m mark in 22.49 seconds, before covering the next two 200-metre sectionals in 11.59 and 11.39. According to Simon Rowlands, Timeform’s Timeform's Head of Research and Development, Orfevre covered the four furlongs from the 1000m-mark 0.6 seconds faster than the 2011 Arc won by Danedream.
“The pace must be faster than the Foy,” Ikee, who worked in England for Sir Michael Stoute, added. “He settled well in Prix Foy so it should not be a problem.”
Although Japanese Group One races have some of the biggest fields in the world Ikee is concerned about the number of runners that could line up at Longchamp. It is one of a number of his concerns.
While the Japan Derby is attended by over 100,000 people every year the spectators, and more importantly, the cameras, are placed further back than at the intimate Longchamp parade ring.
“We are concerned about the crowd,” Ikee said. “On Tokyo Derby day the crowds are bigger and we coped with it okay. He had a hood on then, but no earplugs, just like at Longchamp [last time].”