Three of the four market leaders, Nathaniel, Snow Fairy and last year’s winner Danedream, all have been pulled out with various injuries or quarantine issues.
The race now has a very open look it and with the added spice that Camelot has been given the green light to restore his reputation that he lost in the St Leger at Doncaster, it is likely to be a race that provides plenty of answers rather than questions.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Camelot, who is currently a 3/1 (Ladbrokes) shot for the race, has been one of the major stars of the 2012 Flat season.
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Yes, he may have been the best of a woefully under-par bunch of three-year-old colts, but you rarely find a 2000 Guineas and Derby winner that isn’t a little bit special. His inclusion in the race has restored the spark following the three high profile withdrawals.
You have to ask yourself why a Derby and 2000 Guineas winner isn’t a short price favourite.
Well, there are plenty of flaws which can be found in his make-up. Firstly, although three-year-olds have won 15 of the last 18 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe’s, there is a strong feeling that this year’s Classic generation are of very poor quality.
Both Camelot’s Classic wins, a half a length gutsy effort in the 2000 Guineas and a five length romp in the Derby, are very weak from a form perspective.
Also, the UK three-year-old colts have been repeatedly stuffed by their elders on plenty of occasions this season.
When you throw in Camelot’s defeat in the St Leger, which would have taken a lot out of him, you start to build up a great case for him to be ignored when finding the winner.
If he continues to shorten in the market, say to around the 2/1 mark, there are significant factors that make him a sure fire lay. Looking elsewhere for the winner looks the right way to play.
Japanese Triple Crown winner Orferve is challenging Camelot at the head of the betting, and he will be very popular on-course in Longchamp as over 6,000 Japanese punters are making the trip to Paris, with the firm intention of backing their horse off the boards.
At the prices, currently a 100/30 (Sportingbet) however, there seems to be better betting alternatives.
The two to keep very much onside is the progressive Great Heavens and the very underrated Sea Moon from the revitalised Sir Michael Stoute yard.
Trainer John Gosden has had to supplement the filly for the race at a cost of £100,000 (the prize fund is £2.2million) after his number one runner Nathaniel was pulled out following a bad scope.
That shouldn’t been seen as a negative though as Gosden is a wise old tactician and doesn’t throw money away lightly. The horse herself is a very progressive type and has gone unbeaten this season in working her way up from a Yarmouth maiden to her win in the Irish Oaks. At 12/1 (Sportingbet) she has to enter calculations.
As does Sea Moon. The four-year-old has yet to taste success at the top-level, but he certainly possesses the ability to do so.
He is a match for any of his rivals when he gets his perfect conditions, and there is a feeling that Longchamp may just suit his style of racing.
He was a beaten favourite in the King George at Ascot on his last outing but things didn’t fall his way that day, he can be forgiven that run and is taken as a strong each-way option against the weak market leaders.