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Camelot is clear favourite for the Arc after stalls draw

Updated: Friday, 05 Oct 2012 21:23 | Comments

Frankie Dettori will be on board of Camelot at Longchamp
Frankie Dettori will be on board of Camelot at Longchamp

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

Aidan O'Brien on Wednesday gave his 2000 Guineas and dual Derby hero the green line to take his place in Europe's premier middle-distance prize, revealing Frankie Dettori would take the ride.

The three-year-old 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 Dettori was booked for the mount, taking over from the trainer's son Joseph who is unable to the weight of 8st 11lb.

He was already disputing top spot in the market with Orfevre before the draw was made and after he drew stall five, with the Japanese superstar widest of all in stall 18, Camelot soon took over as outright favourite.

Coral trimmed the son of 1999 Arc hero Montjeu to 5-2 from 11-4, while Orfevre is out to 7-2 from 3-1.

Coral's David Stevens said: "At the end of last week Camelot was a 7-1 shot for the Arc, but since Monday the colt has attracted over 75% of ante-post bets on the race.

"With the added advantage of a low draw now, Frankie Dettori's mount is certain to start favourite on Sunday."

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 this weekend.

"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 (stall 12) and Ernest Hemingway (stall four).

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 winner 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.

"I'm not afraid of anyone. I'm a sportsman and it's not good to be afraid."

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."

Completing the British challenge is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sea Moon.

"He goes on any ground, but he really does love to get his toe in," said Stoute.

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