IT has been a week of surprises in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe market, with Camelot and Great Heavens declared, Danedream and Nathanial ruled out and Frankie Dettori offered a gilt-edged ride for Aidan O'Brien.
Even though tensions between Godolphin and Ballydoyle have eased considerably, the move is significant and it will be the first time the Italian has taken the reins on an O'Brien horse since partnering Scorpion to victory in the St Leger back in 2005.
It's said that Joseph O'Brien can't get his weight down to 8st 11lb to ride Camelot, which must be disappointing for him.
With 24 Arc races, including three wins under the belt, Dettori is a safe pair of hands, although it still must be said that O'Brien is not without a chance on St Nicholas Abbey, which is generally available around 10/1.
The betting proved entertaining this week, with Danedream backed down from 999/1 to 9/1 on Betfair following rumours that she would be allowed to take her place. But such rumours proved unfounded and last year's winner remains in quarantine following an outbreak of swamp fever.
Great Heavens seemed an unlikely runner and had also been matched at the maximum price on the exchange, but she was supplemented late on Thursday at a cost of €100,000 and now trades around 12/1.
So, are we likely to see a flying dismount from Frankie at Longchamp tomorrow afternoon?
If you're willing to forgive Camelot for Doncaster, then you'd have to say there's a great chance of it happening.
Who knows -- perhaps Camelot's not really the staying type after all and we may see a rejuvenated animal now that he's back to a mile and a half.
While they weren't the strongest renewals, he did win the Guineas and the Derby after all, and at 11/4, I reckon it's just about worth giving him another chance of atonement.
That said, it's hard to pick holes in the form of the second favourite, Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre. Rated 3lb clear of the field by Timeform, he's been putting in some superb prep work over a mile at Chantilly and is sure to make Camelot work hard for his oats. On the negative side, Orfevre's high draw in stall 18 could prove troublesome.
Sea Moon is another one with claims and numerous bookmakers reported strong each-way support for the colt since Ryan Moore was confirmed fit to ride.
Camelot narrowly gets the vote ahead of Orfevre.
At Ascot today, take a chance on Mince at 5/2 in the John Guest Bengough Stakes (3.05). Trainer Roger Charlton had considered the Prix De L'Abbaye at Longchamp for his three-year-old, but has opted to keep her on home soil to go for a four-timer to follow on from a career best at York last time.
A couple of months ago, I tipped Arnold Lane in the Betfair Summer double at Goodwood and he wasn't disgraced when coming second at 6/1 in what turned out to be a very competitive handicap. He's back in action today in the Betfred Challenge Cup (3.35 Ascot) and I remain convinced that we'll see him back in the winner's enclosure sooner rather than later. Take him each way at 14/1.
2.30 Ascot: Songcraft (e/w)
3.05 Ascot: Mince
3.35 Ascot: Arnold Lane (e/w)
6.50 Wolverhampton: Mandy Layla
3.25 Longchamp: Camelot (tomorrow)