Solemia denied Japan a first victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as the filly got up in the last strides to beat Orfevre in a thrilling renewal at Longchamp.
Everything appeared to have gone to plan for Orfevre, who carried the weight of a nation’s hopes.
Christophe Soumillon dropped the Far East challenger right out at the back, but he came cruising through in the straight and went at least two lengths clear of Solemia, even trading at 1-100 at one stage on the betting exchanges.
However, Carlos Laffon-Parias’ four-year-old showed incredible guts under Olivier Peslier to give the rider his fourth win in the race. Masterstroke was third.
Solemia was last seen finishing third behind Shareta in the Prix Vermeille but that one never showed up at all in the testing ground.
Camelot, Aidan O’Brien’s 2000 Guineas and dual Derby winner, was given every chance by Frankie Dettori and briefly threatened but emptied out close home.
Orfevre had broken from stall 18 and made up a tremendous amount of ground but became yet another agonising defeat for Japanese racing after El Condor Pasa, Deep Impact and Nakayama Festa.