French filly Solemia will now head to the Breeder’s Cup after taking out the Group 1 €4m QATAR Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Longchamp, France on October 7.
In a race that dramatically changed complexion over the final 100m, Japan was denied its first win in the famous race when local filly Solemia surged to the front a few strides from the finish line after being outsprinted a the 400m mark by the Japanese galloper Orfevre.
Top jockey Christophe Soumillon had overcome a wide barrier to get cover for Orfevre back in the field and after easing the 7-2 favourite out on the home turn quickly reined in the leaders and looked certain to win all the way down the testing Longchamp straight.
But as soon as Orfevre was being claimed the winner, Olivier Peslier on Solemia (41-1) was able to pick the filly up and under hard riding was regained the two lengths that Orfevre has put on her and gained victory in the shadows of the post.
“It’s just magnificent. She’s such a nice, big filly and Olivier rode a perfect race. I’m very pleased for the Wertheimers because of the investment they have made over the years,” said Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager for the winning owners, who confirmed the Breeder’s Cup was on the agenda.
Winning trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias said that the heavy ground was a great help for Solemia and also praised the ride of Peslier who scored his fourth win in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe.
“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,” Laffon-Parias said.
“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.”
“To be honest I think the fillies are better than the colts and the older horses are better than the three-year-olds.”
“People were saying Camelot was unlucky in the St Leger and maybe it was the jockey’s fault, but the winner of the St Leger is not really a Group One horse and maybe Camelot is not that good.”
The Aidan O’Brien trained Camelot came to Longchamp with outstanding form, suffering only one defeat from six starts, including four Group 1 victories but could only manage to finish seventh after being given a perfect ride back on the fence by Frankie Dettori.
But O’Brien said that Camelot was not at home on the heavy track and still has enormous faith in the colt, maintaining that he is the best horse he has trained.
“He is the best horse I have trained and he will stay in training,” said O’Brien.
Even though Camelot was well beaten, the three year old colt was the best of O’Brien’s four runners with St Nicholas Abbey finishing eleventh and pacemakers Ernest Hemingway and Robin Hood finishing near the tail of the field.