It will be fascinating if Camelot is given a green light to run in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but not fascinating enough to shake the conviction that Nathaniel increasingly looks the one with the best credentials for success in Europe’s most prestigious race.
This looks one of those Arcs that are ultra-competitive rather than revolving around a single headliner, although there will be many who point to last year’s renewal and Danedream’s five length romp as evidence the German star is a stand-out.
A thrilling defeat of Nathaniel in July’s King George only added to her lustrous CV and the noises from the Danedream camp have been remorselessly positive for some time.
But there will be no repeat of the perfect solo-show she enjoyed in 2011 when it seemed every other rider was concentrating on something else, allowing Danedream a dream run through.
She did edge out Nathaniel in the King George during the summer but the English horse was in front plenty soon enough that day and represented a perfect target for his rival. He did something similar for Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion but over a mile and a half in a big field Arc, William Buick should be able to get cover for longer.
Of course much of this is speculative given the importance of the draw at Longchamp. But one horse that looks worth steering well-clear of is the Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre.
The Arc is the race the hugely wealthy Japanese bloodstock industry covets more than any other and El Condor Pasa, Nakayama Festa and Deep Impact have all made the frame.
Under-estimating the Japanese is a dangerous pastime but while Orfevre is talented he is also quirky.
Earlier in the year he all but bolted in a race, then was all but pulled up, before eventually condescending to run on. The Arc is a race that places demands on all parts of a horse’s armoury, both physical and mental. And Orfevre looks much too flaky to back with any degree of confidence.
Shareta has been impressive at York and in the Vermeille but it’s hard to forget she ran last year as a glorified pacemaker so while he has a ‘Plain-Jane’ name that will hardly resonate through the generations a la Ribot, Sea Bird or Sea The Stars, it could well be Nathaniel’s year.
There’s no knowing what sort of an impact Viztoria might have on 2013 but the impression she has made so far in 2012 is already significant.
Even a pair of Ballydoyle Group winners at the Curragh on Sunday couldn’t prevent Viztoria from grabbing the imagination in some style with a fee-wheeling second win in the Blenheim Stakes.
There were classic quotes aplenty floating about afterwards but while she looks a filly that is ground-dependant, there is no doubt Eddie Lynam’s runner has a huge amount of potential.
The appeal of Duntle’s connections into her Matron Stakes demotion will be heard by the Turf Club’s Referrals Committee on Thursday and is sure to be the subject of some interest.
Something of a consensus seems to have developed that Wayne Lordan was unlucky to get placed behind Chachamaidee, a “can count himself unfortunate” lobby.
And the jockey was unlucky; just not in the way some seem to think.
He was unlucky that the stewards at Leopardstown did their job. He was unlucky because other panels consistently don’t which led to Lordan believing it was well worthwhile to take a chance on bumping his way out.
But he was not unlucky by any reasonable definition of the rules surrounding improving your position by causing interference to something else.
And a final Arc thought: the French authorities have opted to put all their Group 1 eggs in the one Sunday basket, unlike in the past when the Foret and Cadran were run the day before.
The result is a flagship afternoon that advertises French racing at its best and it is surely worth considering again the possibility of an Irish equivalent.
Leopardstown’s Champion Stakes day could be an option with both current Group 1 contests, and throwing possibly the Moyglare and the Leger into the mix as well, to make a pot-boiler of a day, leaving only everyone to pray to the skies for decent weather.
Just a thought.