Triomphe or disaster for Camelot?

Camelot has emerged as clear favourite for tomorrow’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp after faring far better than market rival Orfevre in the draw for stalls positions.

Triomphe or disaster for Camelot?

The Aidan O’Brien-trained three-year-old, winner of the Newmarket 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, may have failed to complete the Triple Crown when beaten in last month’s St Leger at Doncaster, but punters seem to believe he can get back on the winning trail in Paris.

He has been heavily supported since it was revealed that Frankie Dettori was booked for the mount, taking over from the trainer’s son Joseph who is unable to the weight of 8st 11lb.

And, after he drew stall five, with the Japanese superstar Orfevre being drawn widest of all in stall 18, Camelot soon took over as outright favourite.

Dettori rode Scorpion to win the 2005 St Leger - the last time he teamed up with O’Brien - and is excited about the prospect of riding Camelot.

“If you are going to judge him, judge the horse more on his Guineas and Derby runs, which were very impressive,” Dettori told Racing UK.

“He was ridden to stay (in the Leger), it was a stop-start pace early doors, although I still think the horse quickened well at the end.

“He looks to be tremendously well balanced. He came into his own in the Derby when he ran over a mile and a half. He spread-eagled the field and was mighty impressive.

“The Arc will be his absolute cup of tea.”

While Camelot takes star billing, it should not be forgotten O’Brien has a second major contender in St Nicholas Abbey, with Joseph free to ride him at 9st 5lb.

The jockey said: “Hopefully he’ll run really well. He’s been running well all season and I don’t see why he won’t again.”

St Nicholas Abbey is in stall 10, while O’Brien also saddles expected pacemakers Robin Hood and Ernest Hemingway.

Despite his poor draw, there will still be plenty of expectation from his legions of fans in the Far East that Orfevre can deliver a first Arc victory for Japan.

Dual Arc-winning jockey Christophe Soumillon guided the Japanese Triple Crown winning to his Prix Foy victory last month and is embracing the pressure of carrying the hopes of a nation.

He said: “All the Japanese fans would like to see a Japanese horse win the Arc. I hope I can deliver what all the Japanese fans expect.”

Trainer John Gosden, jockey William Buick and owner Lady Rothschild suffered major disappointment earlier this week when leading contender Nathaniel had to be ruled out of the race due to an unsatisfactory blood test.

The team shuffled their pack and decided to supplement brilliant Irish Oaks heroine Great Heavens, who is a full-sister to her esteemed stable companion.

“The sister’s good, but she’s not her brother,” said Gosden. “She’s a fresh filly and I do think the owners deserve a lot of credit for making what is a sporting decision for the race on Sunday.”

Michael Stoute, who won the race in 2010 with Workforce, saddles Sea Moon.

“He really does love to get his toe in,” said Stoute. “He’s a fair sort of horse and I’ve always said he’s not far behind them (the best around).”

Alain de Royer-Dupre has a very strong hand with last year’s runner-up Shareta ane the supplemented Bayrir.

Shareta comes into the race in superb form having won the Yorkshire Oaks and the Prix Vermeille on her last two starts, while Bayrir was second in his warm-up race in the Prix Niel.

The trainer said: “Shareta accelerated very strongly in York and she did the same in the Vermeille.

“I think good to soft is OK, but if it was very soft I’m not sure it would be the best for my filly.

“We decided to go with Bayrir as he was not completely fit for the Niel and he has come out of that race looking so well, we decided to change our plans.”

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