What have we learnt from Arc Trials day?

If you missed any of yesterday’s action, then you missed out on some top quality group action the likes usually reserved for the very best Saturday Channel 4 meetings. A plethora of talented specimens flocked from all over the world to Longchamp in an attempt to solidify Arc De Triomphe credentials.

First up was the Prix Niel, a Group 2 contest run over 1m4f for 3 year olds. Here, an impressive last time out winner in Flintshire was all the rage on course and online going off a 6/4 chance to land the first of the days Arc trials. Earlier in the week Andre Fabre was quoted as saying the ground wouldn’t suit, but they had no choice but to run over C&D as it would be their only chance to do so before the Arc itself. The only time Flintshire has been defeated was on Soft ground, and yes, you guessed it, he lost on soft ground again.

Many shrewdies knew about the ground concern, and took action accordingly. Kizuna, winner of the Japanese Derby was making his debut outside of Japan and came with a bit of a reputation to uphold, Ruler Of The World, the English Derby winner was an un fancied 12-1 shot in the race, but these two battled out a protracted dingdong battle up the straight with Kizuna winning the contest in a head bobber. Ocovango was back in 3rd, which if you look at the form literally with Flintshire and what he’s achieved, confirms the dislike for the surface for Flintshire.

What can we take out of the race? Well Kizuna was quickly shortened to 5-1 by Coral, with hindsight, that ended up being a panic slashing of the price, as what was to come firmly put Kizuna’s Arc credentials up in the air.

Up steps Treve, a horse we’ve only seen a handful of times. Prix Vermeille the race, Group 1 the level. Up against Wild Coco, Tasaday, Silasol and the exciting prospect Venus De Milo, Treve carved through the field like a knife through butter to absolutely demolish the field with ease. Backers of Treve (Myself included) were panicking slightly when, with just over 2 furlongs to go Frankie Dettori was held up 2nd last with a wall of horses in front of it. Frankie didn’t panic however and waited for the gaps to appear, and stormed to the front. The 4/5 Favourite rewarded favourite backers with a performance every odds on shot should aspire to.

With this performance, Treve found himself as the 7/2 Favourite for the Arc, but things were about to change (yet again)

Step up Orfevre, the winner of the 2012 Arc De Triomphe. Yes, it still hurts. He obviously didn’t win last year; he was nabbed on the line by a 40-1 outsider after kicking 3 lengths clear in the final furlong.
Yesterday, he showed the same turn of foot to demolish the lineup in the Prix Foy (Group 2). Undoubtedly the best performance of the day was saved for last, and a reproduction of that should see him go very close again.

One concern is his mental state. Soumillion mentioned how he’d got distracted by the horse approaching him last year and lost concentration, so if he’s viciously challenged in the final furlong after kicking like he was last year, you’re going to have everything crossed, praying he gallops to the line.

Orfevre in the black and yellow silks, red cap (3rd) as the video starts. The commentary is Japanese, but don’t let that put you off!

With that victory, Orferve is now joint favourite with Treve on 7/2 with Coral.

With the likes of Novellist, Intello, the Fugue, Al Kazeem, Leading Light and Trading Levather still in the betting, this year’s renewal of the Arc looks to be one of the best lineups we’ve seen in a long time.