18 runners draw for Arc

Updated: October 5, 2012, 12:53 PM ET
By Myra Lewyn | Bloodhorse



The 91st edition of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 7 at Longchamp attracted a large and competitive field of 18, headed by reigning Japanese Horse of the Year Orfevre and European multiple classic winner Camelot.

Post positions were drawn on Oct. 5 for the 1 1/2-mile (2,400-meter) race that is Europe's richest race at $5.1 million. The winner will join a win roster of the Thoroughbred racing's elite that includes the likes of Ribot, Sea-Bird, Vaguely Noble, Mill Reef, Alleged, and Sea The Stars to name only a few.

The Arc is one of seven group I races on the Oct. 7 card, which will provide American bettors the chance to wager into world's second-largest pool. Kentucky-based simulcast and wagering company AmWest Entertainment has joined with France's Pari Mutuel Urbain to simulcast the Arc weekend races, beginning Oct. 6.

Orfevre will have to overcome the widest post in stall 18 in his bid to become the first Arc winner from Japan, where the event is widely regarded as racing's top prize. Winner of last year's Triple Crown in his native country, the 4-year-old Stay Gold colt will be the 11th Arc starter from Japan, which has come tantalizingly close to victory, most recently finishing second in 2010 with Nakayama Festa; third in 2006 with Deep Impact before he was disqualified; and second in 1999 with El Condor Pasa.

Orfevre will be guided by four-time French champion jockey and two-time Arc winner Christophe Soumillon, who rode the strong-willed colt to a last-to-first victory over Arc opponent Meandre in the Prix Foy on Sept. 16 in his French debut.

Three-year-olds have captured the Arc eight times in the past nine runnings, and eight will take a shot this year.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who won the Arc with Dylan Thomas in 2007, has a strong chance with Coolmore and associates' Camelot, who will start from post five.

Winner of the Two Thousand Guineas and Investec English Derby, the Montjeu colt just missed becoming the first English Triple Crown winner in more than 40 years in a stunning upset under a tactically flawed ride from O'Brien's son Joseph in the Ladbrokes St. Leger on September 15 on at Doncaster. A win in the Arc for the colt, who also won the Irish Derby this season, could go far in softening the blow of his tough St. Leger loss as the overwhelming favorite.

Joseph O'Brien was deemed too heavy to ride Camelot in the Arc. In a surprise announcement this week, the colt will be ridden by Godolphin stable rider Frankie Dettori, who has ridden in the past 24 Arcs and won the three times.

Godolphin will be represented in the Arc by French-based 3-year-old Masterstroke, winner of the Lucien Barriere Grand Prix de Deauville in August at Deauville. The colt is by recently deceased sire Monsun. His second dam is 1993 Arc winner Urban Sea, who produced Galileo and Sea The Stars. Masterstroke is trained by seven-time Arc winner Andre Fabre and will be ridden by Mickael Barzalona from post 17.

Other sophomores set to contest the Arc include Prix du Jockey Club winner Saonois, a Chichicastenango colt who will start from post two under Antoine Hamelin and Irish Oaks winner Great Heavens, a half sister to Nathaniel, who was withdrawn from the race earlier this week with a fever. Saonois and Great Heavens were each supplemented at a cost of (100,000). The Galileo filly will start from post seven under William Buick.

The younger O'Brien retains the mount on St Nicholas Abbey, who finished fifth in last year's Arc after leading in the stretch, then rebounded to win the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf.

The Montjeu horse won the 1 1/2-mile Coronation Cup for the second straight year in June. He returns to his best distance in the Arc, where he will start from post 10.

Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms aims for a fourth win in the race and the expected soft ground at Longchamp this weekend will be an advantage for Sea Moon. The 4-year-old Beat Hollow colt was runner-up in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf and fifth in the Betfair King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on July 21 at Ascot in his most recent start.

Jockey Ryan Moore, who was to make his comeback riding on Oct. 5 after being has been sidelined since August with a broken wrist, has been named to ride Sea Moon, who will start from post 16.

Second in the Arc last year, the Aga Khan's 4-year-old filly Shareta landed the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Aug. 23 at York and followed with a comfortable win in the Qatar Prix Vermeille on Sept. 16 at Longchamp to secure her place as a leading contender to win the Arc. The Sinndarfilly drew 11 and will be ridden by Christophe Lemaire.

The Aga Khan also is represented by supplemental entry Bayrir, a 3-year-old Medicean colt who recently won the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.

The Arc program begins at 7:30 a.m. EDT, with eight Thoroughbred races extending through 12:25 p.m.