Solemia claims thriller at Longchamp
Racing:Solemia rallied in tremendous fashion to deny Japan a first victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, getting up in the last strides to beat Orfevre in a thriller 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 to 100 at one stage on the betting exchanges.
However, Carlos Laffon-Parias’s four-year-old showed incredible guts under Olivier Peslier to give the rider his fourth win in the race. Masterstroke was third.
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, finishing seventh.
Winning connections were quick to heap praise on Peslier, and Laffon-Parias said: “She had a hard first part of the season so we gave her a two-month break and started to prepare her for the Arc.
“Soft ground is very important to her, but Olivier made the difference. I hoped she might get a place and obviously this is much better.
“It’s a big day for me to have all my family with me. It’s my third runner in the Arc, but the first that I’ve had with a chance.
“Sometimes the jockey can make the difference and Olivier Peslier is the one who won the race.”
Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager for the winning owners, said: “It’s just magnificent. She’s such a nice, big filly and Olivier rode a perfect race, that’s why you have a big jockey in a big race.
“I’m very pleased for the Wertheimers because of the investment they have made in racing over the years.”
Alain Wertheimer said: “She will run again this season, in Los Angeles at the Breeders’ Cup.”
O’Brien said of Camelot: “It was very sporting of the lads to let him run, but he wants fast ground. Joseph (O’Brien) has always said he is a better horse on quicker ground and it’s been a long, hard season. He’s also come back minus two or three shoes.
“He’s something for us to look forward to next season, as he will remain in training. Hopefully he has a good winter and he could be something unbelievable next year.
“We’ve stretched him in every way, pulled him left, pulled him right and an elastic band can only stretch so long at any time. Hopefully it will all go back together now and he’s going to be something really special next year.
“As far as St Nick (11th) is concerned, he will now go to Santa Anita for another crack at the Breeders’ Cup.”
Dettori said: “It was just a long season took its toll. I had a perfect trip and he took me beautifully into the straight on the bridle, but just as soon I knew we were in trouble and in fairness to the horse he’s been going for some time since the Guineas.”
The John Gosden-trained Great Heavens ran a creditable race in sixth, having only been supplemented on Thursday in the enforced absence of her brother Nathaniel.
Gosden said: “It’s very tough taking on the older horses, but I couldn’t be happier with her. She ran her heart out. It’s entirely the owner’s decision (on whether she will stay in training).”
Her rider William Buick said: “She ran great, I was proud of her finishing sixth in a good Arc.”
Michael Stoute’s Sea Moon was eighth and the trainer said: “For a good-actioned horse he doesn’t want the ground as puddingy as that, Ryan (Moore) said he never felt smooth on it at any point.”
Andre Fabre’s Masterstroke was carrying the French colours of Godolphin, whose racing manager Simon Crisford said: “He ran really well and is going to be a really nice mile-and-a-half horse next year.
“He was beaten by better horses on the day, but he is one to look forward to.”