16th September 2012
Longchamp Betting: Classy Japanese Orfevre to get the better of Meandre in Arc trial
Longchamp 1.30pm – Qatar Prix Foy – Group 2 – 1m4f
5 runners for this Group 2 contest but one will be used as a pacemaker and has little chance of victory. Japanese raider Orfevre is a multiple Group 1 winner back home but most of its victories have been on good to firm ground and conditions will be very different at Longchamp. Meandre is a course and distance winner and is currently the 2nd favourite at 2-1 with PaddyPower but has some excellent form.
Orfevre hasn’t raced for 84 days and will also have one eye on the Arc De Triomphe at the start of October. It has never raced at Longchamp and Christophe Soumillon has never ridden the horse in a race. He takes over from usual jockey Kenichi Ikezoe but knows the rack well and reports the horse has been working well recently. It has wins from 9f to 15f and if the pacemaker sets a strong gallop the proven extra stamina could prove crucial but we need to see how it will go on ground softer than it is used to racing on.
Meandre will also have one eye on the Arc but raced 56 days ago and has 2 wins this season over 12f. It won in Germany last time out at odds on and beat a German Group 1 winner. It has also won at Saint-Cloud when it beat Shareta, Galikova and Danedream. Shareta franked the form by winning the Yorkshire Oaks and battling well to deny The Fugue but the overall form of that race is questionable. Galikova has finished 3rd to Snow Fairy since and Danedream has won two Group 1 races, including the King George. It is the ease that Meandre won that race that makes me think it is a very useful horse, winning that day by 1 ¼ lengths and just being coaxed home under hands and heels and on good to soft ground.
Joshua Tree is now with Marco Botti and was previously with Aidan O’Brien. It won last time out but that was the first win in 13 races and it doesn’t look the most consistent type. It was beaten 2 ¾ lengths by today’s rival Fiorente when they raced at Newmarket in July. It could be argued that it looks better over further and it won over 15f last time out under Ryan Moore. I feel it will be outclassed over 12f and won’t have the speed to go with them during the last furlong or two.
Fiorente has not raced for 66 days since that Newmarket win over Joshua Tree. Kieren Fallon takes the ride for his old boss Michael Stoute and has never ridden it in a race before. It has been well beaten in listed and group races and was 13 ½ lengths behind Sea Moon in the Hardwicke Stakes and is hard to fancy today. The 2nd to Nathaniel last year is good form but it was beaten 5 lengths and needs to improve plenty more to beat Meandre and Orfevre.
Aventino is 8 years old and is here to keep Orfevre company and will probably try to set a decent pace. It is not a betting prospect at all and odds of 150-1 in a 5 horse race tell you what kind of chance it has of winning.
The question we have to ask is how fit these horses will be if they are needed to peak in about 3 weeks. Orfevre heads here with a huge reputation and is the 2nd favourite for the Arc De Triomphe behind Danedream. Meandre could only manage 6th in last year’s Arc De Triomphe and is 12-1 to win this year’s renewal. Orfevre does have one win on soft ground to give us hope it will run well on good to soft and this one does look like a real superstar, winning the triple crown at home as a 3 year old. Meandre’s win over excellent rivals came in a small field with a muddling pace and it wasn’t good enough to win the Arc last year so we favour the Japanese raider and hope Soumillon can guide it to victory on its way to a crack at the Arc in October.
5pts WIN – Orfevre 11-10 Ladbrokes (BOG)
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Author: Formbook Frank