Camelot edges closer to racing legend Nijinsky
19:19, 02 Jun 2012
Dreams of a first Triple Crown hero since 1970 are very much alive after Camelot routed the field in the Investec Derby at Epsom.
Sent off the 8-13 favourite on the back of his victory in the 2000 Guineas, hopes appear genuinely high that he will be allowed to tackle the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster in September.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien, who has won every British Classic this season, Camelot was ridden by his son, Joseph, 19, making them the first father/son combination to win the premier Classic in its 233-year history.
Nijinsky, trained by Vincent O'Brien, was the last horse to win the Triple Crown.
Sea The Stars completed the same Guineas-Derby double in 2009 but did not go for the Leger, instead dropping back to 10 furlongs and then rounding off his career in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Settled at the rear of the nine-runner field by his young rider, Camelot looked to have plenty to do coming down Tattenham Corner, with stablemate Astrology leading the pack.
But when O'Brien asked his mount the response was immediate.
He quickened past Main Sequence and just had Astrology to aim at.
Once in the clear the result was inevitable and the shortest-priced winner since Gainsborough in 1918 pulled five lengths clear.
Main Sequence stayed every yard and beat Astrology to the line by a short head.
Second-favourite Bonfire looked ill at ease on the track and trailed home in sixth.
"You can't even dream of days like this," said O'Brien snr, with reference to training a Derby winner ridden by his son.
"I was always happy, I know his body language by now and he looked confident. No one can describe the feeling, things like this don't happen.
"I had an idea what he was going to do but we've seen things happen here that you can't control.
"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."
Joseph O'Brien said: "I was a little bit worried coming down the hill because he didn't handle it very well so he did well to win.
"He is a very special horse and I'm just very fortunate to be able to ride him. I owe a big thanks to everybody, the owners and everyone at home, they do a great job with him."
Anne-Marie O'Brien, Joseph's mother and Aidan's wife, was rather less reserved.
"That was torture," she said. "I met Lester Piggott last weekend and he said 'tell Joseph not to be in any hurry' and I knew when I saw him coming that he had timed it perfectly. I'm thrilled."
Part-owner Derrick Smith, in whose colours the winner runs, said: "This is the one that everyone in racing wants.
"It's not a dream because I didn't allow myself to dream it. What a ride from Joseph and what a horse. To be able to travel so well in the early part of the race and then come with a run at the three-pole, you knew it was all over then.
"It's a fantastic team of people and it's great to be part of it. 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."
Fellow owner Michael Tabor said: "It's unbelievable to win four Classics out of four this season, incredible.
"Nothing is cast in stone with this horse, we'll all have to have a sit down and see about plans, we want the public to enjoy him.
"We've got an open mind, we've got the Arc and the Leger to consider. It's a high-class problem to have."
Coolmore supremo John Magnier indicated a trip to Doncaster 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."
Leger sponsors Ladbrokes make him their 1-3 favourite to win the world's oldest Classic.