Three-time Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winning jockey Frankie Dettori will take the reigns on 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby winner Camelot (GB) at Longchamp on Sunday. Trainer Aidan O'Brien's son, Joseph, has ridden Caemlot in his prior races but will take the mount on 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf winner St. Nicholas Abbey (IRE).
This is an interesting jockey switch to me for a number of reasons, but one that Aidan O'Brien had to make coming into the Arc. O'Brien's son Joseph has ridden St. Nicholas Abbey in his last eight races and nine of his last ten. He guided the colt to victories in the 2011 BC Turf and the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup at Epsom. But Joseph O'Brien has also ridden Camelot in all six of his career starts, so something had to give. And, as Dettori notes in the embedded video above, there was a question as to whether Joseph O'Brien could make the weight for Camelot (three-year-olds get a decent weight allowance over older horses in the Arc).
The move to Dettori, long considered one of the best riders in Europe and an Arc veteran, appears to me a move to ensure that Camelot is provided with the best opportunity for victory as possible. To be fair, Joseph O'Brien is a quality rider (even if many took issue with his ride on Camelot in the St. Leger), but the Arc is a different beast, one that Dettori is much more familiar with. And the stakes are very high for Camelot despite his failure to win the English Triple Crown. Should he win on Sunday, Camelot will complete a season with victories in the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - that's about as good of a year as a three-year-old can have in Europe.
Dettori has won the Arc three times in his career: 1995 - Lammtarra; 2001 - Sakhee; 2002 - Marienbard (IRE).
In other Arc news, the odds from the UK bookmakers has stabalized follwoing the defections of Snow Fairy (IRE), Nathaniael (IRE) and Danedream (GER). Below is a summary of the low/high odds from the Racing Post UK:
|St Nicholas Abbey||9/1||11/1|
|Yellow and Green||20/1||28/1|