Camelot offers Arc of prosperity

ONLY if you have been to Paris and heard the collective groan of a French crowd as one of their best colts is beaten in the Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe can you understand how much it means to the home side to win the world’s greatest all-aged race.

It’s a sound that has resonated around Longchamp for three successive seasons, since the mighty filly Zarkava won back in 2008 for the team of owner the Aga Khan, jockey Christophe Soumillon and trainer Alain de Royer-Dupré.

Sea The Stars for Ireland, Workforce for Britain and Danedream for Germany have all lowered the tricolour and I take that sequence to continue today with Camelot.

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The only racecourse noise to rival that French moan was the one of utter disappointment heard around Doncaster last month when Camelot just failed to win the Triple Crown. His second in the St Leger was still mightily impressive for a 2,000 Guineas winner, and we have not seen anything from any other three-year-old to rival his performances in the Epsom and Irish Derbies.

Add in the priceless benefit of Frankie Dettori in the saddle instead of young Joseph O’Brien and you have what I believe is an irresistible combination.

Camelot is proven at the trip and in the ground, and he gets the three-year-olds’ allowance of 8lbs over the four-year-old colts. Of those older horses, Yorkshire Oaks winner Shareta is probably the best home hope, especially as she won the Arc trial, the Prix Vermeille, in some style.

Yet she was not as impressive as Japanese star Orfevre, the mount of Soumillon, who is clear second favourite with most layers. Non-European horses just don’t win the Arc, however, and, of the Classic generation, only Andre Fabre’s Masterstroke and French Derby winner Saonais could put up a display – yet they have shown nothing of the form of Camelot.

So I take Dettori to land his fourth Arc with Camelot, not least because trainer Aidan O’Brien has learned from his Doncaster mistake and has put in a pacemaker, Ernest Hemingway, with the experienced Colm O’Donoghue in the plate.

John Magnier and his Coolmore friends are sporting gentlemen who like to have a tilt at the big prizes but they would not be allowing Camelot to run if the colt was not in excellent condition and primed to win.

Not even the £2 million for first place would deter Magnier from retiring Camelot if he thought it better for the horse’s stud value, as he lost nothing in defeat in the Leger. The very fact that he takes part in the race is the biggest clue that he should be bet to win. That, the handy weight allowance and the presence of Signor Dettori in his saddle.

If the weather is as good as promised, why not combine your Arc watching with a visit to Kelso races? There’s always a great atmosphere at the Borders course on the day that the Arc takes place and today’s meeting is sponsored by Betfair and features the Borders Principles race – a very keenly contested heat that takes place after racing at around 6pm and is well worth staying for.

Please note the new time of the first race is 2.20pm, and in this Radio Borders Handicap Hurdle, Rose Dobbin and Jason Maguire are going for two in a row with Snooker who won pretty easily last time out at Sedgefield. He could do the double.