Photo: Kate Hunter - Eclipse Sportswire
Longchamp played horse to a trio of exceptional Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe trials on Sunday, all three producing winners whom propeled themselves to the head of the betting markets momentarilly.
Treve, Orfevre and Kizuna were all stylish in victory with Ruler of the World also showing his Irish Derby disappointment to be a mere fluke as the mouths of many began to salivate about the possibility of one of the greatest ever renewals of the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe.
After years of waiting, can Japan finally claim the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe?
PRIX FOY : Orfevre again as Super Soumi canters home
Christophe Soumillon may have just accepted an offer to become the retained rider for HH the Aga Khan next season, and indeed an embarassment of exceptional rides awaits, but there can be few easier wins than his Prix Foy dominance today aboard Orfevre.
Last year's Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe second laughed in the face of his rivals with Soumi seemingly looking around at the line to question where his rivals even were as he cantered all the way to the line in a race which barely asked any questions of the Japanese champion.
Orfevre cantered to the front in last season's Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe only to take a bad step and idle in front, allowing the late charge of Peslier aboard Solemina to become a succesful one. However, the quirks which had once been part of the Orfevre armoury may have been ironed out this season, with the champion showing no signs of idling as he powered into the lead for a facile success.
Orfevre was installed as the 7/2 favourite for the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe after the race.
PRIX NIEL : Japanese dreams rekindled as Kizuna powers home
The betting markets for the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe received a considerable shake up after the Prix Niel as the pre-race favourite Flintshire struggled to land a blow on the soft going.
Kizuna, the winner of the Japanese Derby this year, was strong, smooth travelling and spectacular as he powered to the front on the wide outside under legendary jockey Yutaka Take and hold off the late thrusting charge of the reinvigorated Epsom Derby hero Ruler of the World.
Now as short as 6/1 for the European showpiece, Kizuna was expected to come on for his run in the Prix Niel - a thought that will now strike fear amongst the European trainers as the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe looms. A three year old son of Deep Impact, he will now look to achieve where his sire failed on the first weekend of October.
Ruler of the World powered back to form behind the Japanese winner, weaving his way through traffic late on to cause a photo for the win position. The three year old son of Montjeu temporarily removed the memories of his run in the Irish Derby back in July as he too was cut to as short as 6/1 for the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe.
PRIX VERMEILLE : Dettori back in the big time as Treve impresses
The memories of Zarkava's scintillating victory in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe will forever be one of my fondest of the European showpiece, but in Treve France may yet harbour a filly of incredible potential.
The new 4/1 favourite for the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, Treve was anchored towards the very back of the fied just like Zarkava in today's Prix Vermeille and seemingly in trouble with a whole pack of fillies and mares needing passing for victory.
However, with Dettori setting dead aim on his first Group 1 victory since returning from his six month suspension, Treve weaved through horses with exceptional ease and set her sights on the Lady Cecil trained Wild Coco whom had established a three length lead with time running out.
Backers of Treve need not have worried; Displaying all of the qualities of an Arc winner in waiting, Treve powered down the Longchamp stretch, overtook Wild Coco - herself a strong horse on these ground conditions - and comfortably took the race by over a length at the finish.
The memories of Zarkava will forever remain in my memory, but this one may just be the filly we've been waiting for ever since and most certainly the horse Dettori needed on his comeback.
Twelve months to the day that Dettori tested positive for a banned substance, and at the same track, Dettori can now dream of yet more glory in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe.
Kizuna and Treve photos courtesy of France Galop