Orfevre saunters to back-to-back victories in Prix Foy as Treve turns in a dazzling performance in Vermeille

Orfevre sauntered to back-to-back victories in the Qatar Prix Foy with an impressive display in the Longchamp Group Two yesterday.

The Japenese raider, returned at 4/6 by British bookmakers, was always travelling ominously well under Christophe Soumillon as Now We Can and Stellar Wind set a very slow early gallop.

Soumillon, who had his mount sensibly close to the pace, coasted into the lead over a furlong out and put the race to bed within a matter of strides as the Yasutoshi Ikee-trained five-year-old outclassed the opposition. Very Nice Name was second, three lengths behind the winner, with Pirika third.

Orfevre was second in the Arc last October and heads back to that contest with formidable claims this time. Sky Bet cut his Arc odds from 5/1 to 4/1.

Soumillon, who has admitted that he feels he has a point to prove after the defeat in last year’s Arc, said: “After a performance like that, there’s not much more I can say.

“I knew he was in good form, but that was better than I expected. When he wants [to be], he is unbeatable.”

“You can’t change what happened last year but we can go back to the Arc with confidence.”

There was no more agonising defeat than that of Orfevre 12 months ago, when he appeared to throw the Arc away to Solemia when it was well within his grasp.

However, Yasutoshi Ikee’s powerful chestnut was far more impressive than when he had collected this race 12 months ago he and simply toyed with his opposition, albeit in a time nearly five seconds slower than Treve managed in the Prix Vermeille.

Treve turned in a dazzling performance as Frankie Dettori claimed his first Group One winner since his comeback and can look forward to riding one of the favourites for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Sandwiched between the victories Kizuna and Orfevre as the ante-post market changed almost minute by minute on a day of remarkable trials , Criquette Head-Maarek’s diminutive-but-unbeaten filly will be aimed for France’s greatest prize in three weeks time, as she was in a class of her own against her own sex in the Prix Vermeille.

With a popular trainer and a show-stopping change of gear, Treve could be the kind of filly to gain a real following and a composed Dettori had no concerns when she was rather trapped off the pace on the rail for much of the mile and a half.

Switched wide in the home straight, she quickly whittled down the advantage gained by Lady Cecil’s high-class Wild Coco and won comfortably by a length and three-quarters.

Dettori, who returned at the start of summer after serving the well-publicised drugs ban he picked up when riding in France, was cementing his partnership with Sheikh Joaan Al Thani and immediately embraced the owner.

He said: “It’s brilliant. She’s the first decent horse I’ve ridden for a while, so it’s great.

“The Arc will be a different type of race, so I just hope I’m drawn on the fence so I can get some cover. It was always the plan to ride her like that as I knew she had a great turn of foot.”

Head-Maarek added: “She didn’t do anything today, she’s hardly breathing and she only raced for a furlong as she was held in.

“She was a bit fresh today, so we should have some more to come in the Arc.”

The small matter of a supplementary fee should prove no issue to owner Sheikh Johaan al Thani and Sky Bet make her their 9/2 second-favourite for the race.

Spokesman Michael Shinners commented: “It was hard to keep up with all the changes made to the Arc market as the afternoon went on, but the cream has undoubtedly risen to the top. Who knows how good this filly could be?”

Maxios meanwhikle has a variety of enticing options after stealing an unassailable advantage in the Prix du Moulin.

Stephane Pasquier, who had already received a particularly good piece of news earlier this week when his three-month ban for testing positive for a banned substance was suspended at a civil court tribunal, helped himself to the Group One with a shrewd piece of riding.

Jonathan Pease’s five-year-old had already proved his liking for the Paris track when hitting the mark at the same level in May’s Prix d’Ispahan and Pasquier was the only jockey to stick close to Flotilla’s pacemaker Sage Melody.

Maxios found himself alone and was well away from his rivals turning into the home straight as Pasquier pushed him out to finish five lengths clear of Frankie Dettori and Olympic Glory.

The Richard Hannon-trained runner-up, who was far closer but in the same final position when beaten by Moonlight Cloud on his return from an absence in the Prix Jacques le Marois, made up a fair bit of ground from the rear.

Pease said: “The ground suited and there was a good pace. I should think he’ll go to Ascot now for the QEII.”

However, the Niarchos family’s racing manager Alan Cooper said: “The tactics were to be positive and the ground was magnificent.

“We’ll have to sit down and talk to the owner about what to do now. He’s invited to the Cox Plate but would have to go into quarantine next week.”

Hannon’s son and assistant, Richard Hannon jnr, said: “Frankie said he didn’t like going round the bend and lost a good 10 lengths.”

There was at least a portion of British success on the card, with Rae Guest’s Mirza dead-heating with Dibajj in the Prix du Petit Couvert.

Cross-Channel visitors regularly lift this Group Three sprint, a lead-up race for the Prix de l’Abbaye over course and distance, and Mirza certainly had the pedigree to do well.

The lead changed a number of times in the final stages, and William Buick’s mount could not be separated from the lunging Dibajj, with Catcall and the Michael Bell-trained Riskit Fora Biskit nostrils away in third and fourth respectively.

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