Monday, 19 March 2012
: Japan's Triple Crown winner Orfevre suffered a shock loss s a 1/10 favourite at Hanshin on Sunday in bizarre circumstances.
Orfevre was expected to win the start of his four-year-old campaign in the G2 Hanshin Daishoten over 15 furlongs but went under by a half length after appearing to take charge of his jockey midrace.
Orfevre's rider Kenichi Ikezoe appeared to mistake the laps as his mount rushed up to challenge last year's winner Namura Crescent for the lead as they passed the post the first time.
A stirred up Orfevre then bolted as they went down the back straight with Ikezoe struggling to control him. It appeared he attempted to retire Orfevre from the race as he allowed the entire field to pass him on his inside as he pulled the classic winner towards the far rail.
Orfevre lost some 20 lengths before Ikezoe got him under control. He then quickly recovered ground and was back in contention as the field entered the home straight.
He appeared set for a stunning victory before his earlier efforts told in the closing stages leaving Ikezoe to try and explain what occurred during the race.
"He couldn't go round the turn and ran out to the outside lane," said Ikezoe.
"But when the other horses came up his inner, he wanted to run with them. I can't believe he has managed to finish second - he is a real monster."
Orfevre is due to run next in the G1 Tenno Sho(Spring) with a trip to France for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe the long range target.
At Nakayama the G2 Spring Stakes over 10 furlongs for three-year-olds was won by classic prospect Grandezza ridden by Italian Mirco Demuro..
The Spring Stakes, a major trial for the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), has now been won by Demuro three times.