Aidan O’Brien’s two Derby winners may have to play second fiddle to Leading Light

St Leger winner is due to be supplemented into the Arc tomorrow, along with the brilliant French filly Treve, and the German-based Meandre

Aidan O’Brien is in the rare position of being able to aim not one but two Epsom Derby winners at Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with some even believing neither Ruler Of The World or Camelot is his best chance of landing Europe’s most coveted all-aged contest.

Both winners of English racing’s blue riband in the last two years are among 21 horses left in the Arc at yesterday’s forfeit stage, along with another Ballydoyle hope in Kingsbarns. However, it is O’Brien’s St Leger hero, Leading Light, who is fancied by many to lead the champion trainer’s charge in Paris this weekend.

Leading Light is due to be supplemented into the Arc tomorrow, along with the brilliant French filly Treve, and the German-based Meandre.

The handful of Epsom Derby winners that have proceeded to double up in the Arc comprises some of the elite of European racing since the War.

Sea Bird in 1965 was followed six years later by Mill Reef but there was a near 30-year gap to Sinndar while another Irish superstar, Sea The Stars, completed the double in 2009. A year later, Workforce also pulled it off.

Midweek rain
Camelot's chance of another crack at the Arc – he finished seventh in 2012 – could vanish if there is significant midweek rain in Paris on ground at Longchamp that already has some cut in it.

Ruler Of The World, however, is rated the best of the possible Irish and British representation on Sunday with Paddy Power rating this year's Epsom hero a 10/1 shot in ante-post betting yesterday.

The brother to Duke Of Marmalade, who ran seventh to Zarkava in the 2008 Arc, was just touched off by the Japanese Derby winner Kizuna in last month's Prix Niel and Ryan Moore could again be on his back this weekend, just as he was at Epsom.

Biggest threat
Japan's other big hope, Orfevre, continues to head the betting and he is rated the biggest threat by German trainer Andreas Wohler, whose King George winner, Novellist, will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

“Orfevre couldn’t be more impressive in his trial and he’s a horse with a lot of class. But everything has gone smooth and fine since his (Novellist) last race and hopefully it will for the next couple of days,” said Wohler who described his colt’s workmanlike win in a German Group One a month ago as an Arc Trial.

“He’s a different type of horse since Baden Baden. It was a Group One race but we treated it as a prep race. A single figure draw would be perfect. I don’t think anybody would be happy with an outside draw,” he added.

Murtagh was on board Novellist in the King George and Wohler said: "Johnny did everything right at Ascot. I've spoken to him and he's really looking forward to it. He hasn't been to Germany to ride him but we've spoken a couple of times to keep him up to date."

There is another forfeit stage for the Arc today, with a declaration stage tomorrow when supplementary entries can be made, with final declarations, and the vital draw, revealed on Friday.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column