First Snow Fairy (IRE). Then Danedream (GER). Now Nathaniel (IRE). Three of the biggest names in Europe are all out of the 2012 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe due to injuries or an equine disease outbreak.
Nathaniel, suffering from an elevated temperature, is the latest contender to drop out of the Arc. Prior to Nathaniel, Snow Fairy dropped out due to heat in the foreleg and Danedream is on lockdown following an outbreak of "Swamp Fever" at the training center where she is stabled in Cologne, Germany.
The defections from this year's Arc leave Camelot (GB) and Orfevre (JPN) as the two favorites for European racing's biggest prize. Camelot won this year's 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby but was denied Triple Crown glory when he finished second to Encke in the St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster.
Orfevre won the Japanese Triple Crown in 2011 (Satsuki Sho, Tokyo Yushun and Kikuka Sho), which is modeled after the English Triple Crown in terms of nomenclature and race conditions (2,000 Guineas - one mile, Derby - one and a half miles, St. Leger - one and three-quarter miles).
News of Nathaniel's exit has caused a sizable shift in the betting markets from the UK bookmakers. Orfevre is now the favorite at odds ranging from 5/2 to 9/2. Camelot is the clear second choice at odds of anywhere from 3/1 to 5/1.