Camelot sparks Triple Crown dream with Derby win02/06/2012 - 17:09:36
Camelot set up the mouthwatering prospect of a Triple Crown bid with a superb victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom.
Not since the mighty Nijinsky in 1970 has a colt won the 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger, but that could all change after Aidan O’Brien’s 8-13 favourite completed two thirds of the magical treble in style.
The trainer’s son, Joseph, 19, was happy to sit towards the rear for much of the mile-and-a-half journey, beginning to make headway on the outside of the field rounding the home turn.
For a moment it appeared his stablemate Astrology had stolen a march on his rivals, but Camelot mowed him down heading towards the final furlong and finished strongly to secure a five-length success.
The David Lanigan-trained Main Sequence narrowly denied O’Brien a one-two, getting up on the line to edge out Astrology.
Camelot rounded off his juvenile year with a mesmerising performance in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, and came from a long way back to make a winning return to action in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last month.
O’Brien junior showed nerves of steel to hold on to his mount for so long, timing his run to perfection to secure his first Derby triumph.
It was a third win in the Epsom Classic for the Ballydoyle trainer and his first since High Chaparral took Flat racing’s greatest prize a decade ago.
O’Brien has now saddled the winner of all four Classics run in Britain this season.
There did not appear to be too many hard-luck stories in behind, with leading fancy Bonfire seemingly failing to get home.
Part-owner Derrick Smith, seeing his colours carried to a first Epsom Derby win, said: “This is the one everyone wants in racing. To win the Epsom Derby is a dream come true.
“What a horse, what a ride. You could see from the three pole it was all over. It (the Triple Crown) must be (on the agenda), mustn’t it, we might get pressurised into it, but we will talk with Aidan and make the right decision.”
Coolmore supremo John Magnier also indicated a trip to Doncaster for the Ladbrokes-sponsored Leger in September could be a strong possibility.
He said: “It (Camelot’s brilliance) is there for everyone to see and we are fortunate to have anything to do with him, and it’s particularly important in the year his father (Montjeu) died. We are going to have to take it race by race and give it lots of thought.
“Wouldn’t anybody (be tempted by the Triple Crown)? These things get to mean more as you get older, if you had asked me 30 years ago I might have looked the other way, but we will have to see what Derrick (Smith) and Michael (Tabor) say about it.”
O’Brien senior said: “You can’t even dream of days like this. I was always happy, I know his (Joseph’s) body language by now and he looked confident. No-one can describe the feeling, things like this don’t happen.
“We’ll give the Triple Crown a lot of thought and the boys will make a decision and do whatever is best for the horse. The Triple Crown would be incredible.”
The winning jockey said: “I was a bit worried as he didn’t come down the hill at all. He didn’t handle the track that well, so he did well to win.
“He’s a very special horse and I’m just very fortunate to be on his back. I owe a big thanks to the owners and everyone in the yard.”
Anne-Marie O’Brien, wife of the trainer and Joseph’s mother, said: “I can’t believe it, it’s amazing. I met Lester Piggott last weekend and he said to tell Joseph not to be in any hurry (in the race). I’m really thrilled, it’s incredible.”
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