x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Camelot is ready to wear the crown after Derby win

'The St Leger is certainly in our mind' as the Epsom winner could become the first British Triple Crown winner in 42 years. Audio analysis

Joesph O’Brien rides Camelot through the crowd after winning the Investec Derby at Epsom Racecourse.
Joesph O’Brien rides Camelot through the crowd after winning the Investec Derby at Epsom Racecourse.

EPSOM, ENGLAND // The Americans have their Triple Crown candidate and now so do the English after Camelot won the English Derby with complete authority for trainer Aidan O'Brien here yesterday.

I'll Have Another tackles the Belmont Stakes this Saturday in a bid to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the famed American Triple Crown and Camelot could well line up in the St Leger at Doncaster in September.

Britain has not seen a Triple Crown winner for 42 years and although worldwide breeding fashions dictate that horses which can perform over farther than yesterday's trip of 12 furlongs are less desirable, connections of the 233rd winner of the race were not ruling out a tilt at the final Classic of the British season, run over two furlongs more.

"The St Leger is certainly in our mind and it is very much what people would want," Derrick Smith, part-owner of Camelot said. "There is too much pressure now to make that decision and I am only one of three owners."

Camelot was anchored at the back of the pack by Joseph O'Brien, the trainer's son, in the early stages of the race, one place ahead of Minimise Risk.

Ryan Moore set the pace on Astrology, Camelot's stablemate, and the jockey carried the field along in an effort to pull his rivals out of their comfort zones.

Although Camelot found the unique undulations of Epsom tricky to master, when the son of Montjeu reached the straight the genes that have produced three English Derby winners kicked in.

Camelot first picked off Main Sequence and then O'Brien set about catching his stablemate before the jockey had to ease down his mount for an easy five-length success. Main Sequence edged out Astrology for second.

O'Brien is not usually an emotional trainer, but he was positively gushing afterwards.

"This is the sort of day that you dream about coming true, but this is something I never imagined could happen," he said. "For it to happen on a day like today, with a horse like that, well, I'm not educated enough to describe how that feels."

The UAE barely had a representation with Mickdaam running in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa and outsider Minimise Risk featuring for the Dubai-based Fitri Hay.

Neither colt ever looked like winning, however, with Mickdaam running on well to finish fifth, while Minimise Risk was seventh of the nine runners.

For the O'Briens, though, it was the memorable cap to a weekend that also saw them take the Oaks with Was, and the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup yesterday with St Nicholas Abbey.

sports@thenational.ae