Goodbye, Orfevre

Goodbye, Orfevre
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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