Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 24 September 2017

Dettori's Camelot call

Dettori has not ridden for O'Brien since winning the 2005 St Leger at Doncaster on Scorpion.
Dettori has not ridden for O'Brien since winning the 2005 St Leger at Doncaster on Scorpion.

Nick Robson

Frankie Dettori says he's "honoured" at getting the call-up to partner Aidan O'Brien's leading contender Camelot in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Dettori -- who is stable jockey to Ballydoyle's great rivals Godolphin -- has not ridden for O'Brien since winning the 2005 St Leger at Doncaster on Scorpion.

The Italian will be riding in his 25th consecutive Arc, which he has won three times on Lammtarra (1995), Sakhee (2001) and Marienbard (2002). "It's a real honour to be chosen to ride the Guineas and Derby winner in the Arc," said Dettori.

"What has happened in the last few days is pretty unbelievable (with defections from the race) -- Snow Fairy has an injury, Nathaniel is out.

"Joseph can't do the weight on Camelot and the ride became available -- I'm really looking forward to it.

"It's been a long season, but if the Camelot we know turns up, he should have a really good chance."

Camelot's participation in the Arc had been up in the air since his defeat in the St Leger at Doncaster last month, when he was prevented from claiming the Triple Crown by Encke.

But after having worked at O'Brien's Ballydoyle yard yesterday, the decision was made to let the three-year-old colt take his chance in the big race.

"We were pleased with the work of both St Nicholas Abbey and Camelot this morning in Ballydoyle and hope to run both in the Arc on Sunday," read a tweet from Ballydoyle.

Joseph O'Brien partnered Camelot in his key final Arc prep and said: "I was very happy with him -- he did what he had to do."

Camelot adds a much-needed touch of quality to an Arc which has recently seen three high-profile withdrawals.

Injury forced Snow Fairy out of contention at the weekend, while last year's winner Danedream is unable to travel to France as her stables at Cologne racecourse were placed into quarantine on Monday afternoon after a serious outbreak of an equine infection.

John Gosden's Nathaniel was then declared a non-runner after returning unsatisfactory blood tests when found to have been suffering with a temperature.

There had been rumours that Danedream could yet be supplemented back into the race toady at a cost of €100,000 owing to some sort of mix-up at Cologne. Despite this speculation, Patrick Barbe, racing manager to her part-owner Teruya Yoshida, poured cold water on the possibility.

However, there was much better news of favourite Orfevre with jockey Christophe Soumillon issuing a glowing report on the well-being of the Japanese Triple Crown winner after his final serious workout.

Orfevre worked over a mile at Chantilly on the grass gallop and, having taken a lead inside the final two furlongs, Soumillon let his mount quicken up and stretch out close to home.

A big crowd had gathered to see the work, after which Soumillon said: "He is in better condition than he was three weeks ago. We are very happy with his preparation. He seems in much better physical condition -- more reactive -- and his coat is beautiful.

"Now I'm not a trainer, so it's not me who examines the horse every day, but as a jockey, I have the impression that I have a horse that is more vivacious, which is very nice."

In addition to Nathaniel, Imperial Monarch was taken out at the latest forfeit stage.

O'Brien had mentioned the Canadian International at Woodbine as being the long-term target for Imperial Monarch and that would now appear his next port of call.

Sixteen horses remain in the all-aged middle-distance championship. Saonois, the French Derby and Prix Niel winner, is expected to be supplemented, while there's a possibility that Gosden could do the same with his Irish Oaks heroine Great Heavens.

Eddie Lynam's Sole Power and David Nagle's Maarek are among the entries for the Prix de l'Abbaye, while John Oxx has Saddler's Rock engaged in the Prix du Cadran.

Meanwhile, O'Brien's Excelebration has been installed as odds-on favourite for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day, October 20.

The four-year-old will relish not having to tackle Frankel, which is due to run in the Champion Stakes on the same card.

Colour Vision, Fame And Glory and Saddler's Rock are the headline acts in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup, while Dermot Weld's Rite Of Passage is also a possible contender.

Irish Independent

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