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HRN Original Blog:
Across the Pond

Goodbye, Orfevre

Orfevre finale 615 X 400
Photo: Yuji Noda
The Arima Kinen is traditionally a race to savour; a race which invites the racing public to have their involvement by selecting half of the field, a race which sets itself apart from any other across the globe. 

This may not be the oldest race in the world, yet it is a race which has rapidly become a rich and traditional centerpiece in the Japanese calendar and could prove no better place for a modern day Japanese thoroughbred legend to complete his stellar career. 

Today is not like any other day for the Japanese racing masses, despite their traditionally unquantifiable support for their thoroughbred stars on each and every weekend, the crowd size seemed somewhat inflated as they prepared to wave goodbye to their five year old thoroughbred star, Orfevre.

Absent from the Japan Cup some weeks ago, this had been billed as the farewell, the long goodbye so to speak, for the legendary Orfevre whom had reignited the link between Japanese racing and the shores of European competitivity which remains forever rich in its incomparable turf racing rich in unparalleled tradition.

Orfevre began his quest for European superiority as an unblemishable figure of Asian thoroughbred competitivity, yet whilst he did not quite achieve the dominance in Europe that his fans and followers may have expected, it is in Europe where he enhanced his credentials as a thoroughly talented thoroughbred despite any number of quirks which embedded themselves amongst his quirky stature.

It is folly to suggest that the performances of Orfevre have matched those that we had expected, but his performance of near perfection in the 2012 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe will forever be a line on his race record which rings out the discussions of what might have been.

However, Orfevre had one final showcase under his saddlecloth as he exited stage right and ensured that he would leave his thousands upon thousands of fans with one spectacular performance to remember him by.

Settled perfectly throughout the early stages, Orfevre was sent for home under a confident ride from Kenichi Ikezoe on the home turn and shot clear for home in an awe-inspiring manner. With the questions over whether he had been sent for home too soon ringing in our memories, Orfevre quickly dispelled them with a performance of some magnitude as he pulled away for an easy and perfect victory of eight lengths ahead of Win Variation and Gold Ship.

This was the Orfevre we had learnt to love as a three-year-old, a colt that had captivated the hearts of many an international racefan, and he had signed off in a style which perfectly suited him best. 

A Japanese Triple Crown winner that invaded European shores to claim a brace of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe second placed finishes amongst an 11-for-19 lifetime record, Orfevre's last stand proved the display of dominance that he deserved as he exits towards the breeding shed.


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Older Comments about Goodbye, Orfevre...

What a champion! His performance in the 2012 Hanshin Daishoten stands out as the race that made him a 'world beater', if you haven't seen it you SHOULD!
Orfevre blasted the G1 Arima Kinen field, officially beating Win Variation in 2nd by 8 lengths and Gold Ship in 3rd by 9-1/2 lengths, scarcely even off the bridal at any point in the race. I'm anxious now to see what kind of # Timeform throws at Orfevre for his performance in the Arima Kinen? If it's a big #, and I suspect it will be, then you have to wonder if Treve's Arc win won't scale to new heights and possibly become one of the highest rated Arc wins ever? Given she soundly beat Orfevre by 5 lengths and Intello by 5-1/4 lengths, scarcely off the bridal herself that day at Longchamp.

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Meet Dan Munn

Dan Munn is the Chief International Correspondent for Horse Racing Nation, covering the premier races from Europe as well as introducing and updating our readers on the very best of African, Asian and Australasian thoroughbred competition.

Based in England, Dan became a regular contributor to Horse Racing Nation in 2012 and continues to bring us the most up to date news from Europe with some exclusive interviews and answers to the questions we all want to ask along the way.