Camelot’s quest for immortality

Updated: September 14, 2012

They don’t do messing in Ballydoyle. Everything about this equine powerhouse is ordered, measured and under control. Especially this week. For this week Aidan O’Brien and his Co. Tipperary stable stand on the verge of making horse racing history this Saturday afternoon.

Should Camelot win the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon then he will become the first horse since Niijnsky in 1970 to land the Triple Crown of 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger. This is a feat not to be sniffed at.

Since Nijinsky landed that unique treble 42 years ago only Nashwan in 1989 and Sea The Stars in 2009 have won the 2000 Guineas and Derby with neither attempting the gruelling 1m 6f test that the St Leger demands of a three year old colt.

Quite simple it takes a horse of exceptional talent and maturity to land even two legs of the Triple Crown, never mind attempting to stretch their stamina well beyond their comfort zone in the St. Leger.

If Camelot does win the St. Leger on Saturday, it would rank higher in this writer’s eyes than the achievements that Frankel has achieved this season.

While Frankel is an exceptional horse in his own right, not even Sir Henry Cecil’s charge has tackled such a wide and variety of trips that Camelot has had to face this season.

Camelot began his season at Newmarket in May in the 2000 Guineas. For a horse to win a Guineas first time out they have to be fit enough to win the race but not rock hard fit as they have a whole season in front of them.

What made Camelot’s task even harder was that, according to his pedigree, he had little chance of winning the Guineas as his was by duel Derby winner Montjeu who was yet to sire a Group 1 winner over the Guineas mile.

In winning the Guineas Camelot not only defied horseracing ‘logic’ but he also opened up the gates of history with his head defeat of French Fifteen.

His dominant defeat of Main Sequence in the Investec Derby in the first weekend of June turned whispers of a Triple Crown bid into full out roars for history to be rewritten.

A cosy defeat of Born To Sea in the Irish Derby not only kept Camelot’s undefeated record intact but also promised that maybe, just maybe he would be given the chance at immortality come September.

In the press centre after the Irish Derby , John Magnier, part owner of Camelot and one of the men around Ballydoyle in the Nijinsky era hinted that he, like the rest of us, wanted Camelot to take his place in history ” I know Derrick (Smith) and Michael’s (Tabor) dream is to have a Triple Crown winner. We will, if all goes well, try and make him a Triple Crown winner.”

Come 3.45 on Saturday afternoon we will have our answer. Is Camelot just a exceptionally good colt or is he that rarest of all horses. One moulded by the gods, bred in the purple destined to run over any course, any distance and win every time. Immortality awaits.

William Hill Sports

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