Jordan McCarthy speaks about the highly impressive racehorse, Camelot.
Camelot made the perfect start to his career as a four old at the Curragh on Monday. The dual Derby winner saw off his four rivals with relative ease in the end but it was not quite the procession which many may have anticipated.
The Montjeu colt was last entering the home straight and was pushed out to the line by jockey Joseph O’Brien. It was job done for the O’Brien team and although many will question the opposition there was a Dewhurst winner back in third. With that Camelot was apparently only 70% fit.
This horse has split opinion over the past year or so. He did trounce his rivals in the Derby last season after clinching victory at Newmarket in the Guineas. He then took the Irish Derby on atrocious ground. He just missed out on an illustrious Triple Crown when finishing second to Encke in the Leger. That defeat was followed by a poor effort at Longchamp.
Critics are questioning the quality of the opposition which Camelot has defeated. Last year’s classic generation are considered a very average bunch, maybe even below average.
The second half of his three year-old campaign was an anti climax. In saying that, his Leger defeat was not a complete disaster and he did suffer a bout of colic after the Arc and needed surgery. It was a disappointing end to his classic campaign to say the least.
Yet it is hard not to be impressed with Camelot.
O’Brien is adamant that the colt is the best he’s had and that is quite a statement from the Ballydoyle trainer. This horse is a dual Derby winner and it is staggering to think that he is seen in many corners as being over-rated!
This season could see Camelot silence his critics and he has started off positively by taking a Group 3 at the Curragh. The Prince of Wales Stakes and the Tattersall’s Gold Cup are his main targets. It is interesting to note that these races are run over 10 furlongs. He has raced at a mile, a mile and a half and an extended trip of a mile and three-quarters in the St. Leger. 10 furlongs looks set to be his trip this season. He has not raced at this distance prior to this season and maybe connections feel that this could be his ideal trip.
We know that he is effective over a mile and does stay a mile and a half. Ten could be the magic number for Camelot. He will have to see off some very talented horses in Cirrus des Aigles and Animal Kingdom but what an opportunity for team O’Brien to put the record straight. Should they even have to put the record straight? He is a triple Classic winner and is the closest to a Triple Crown winner we are likely to see for a very long time.
Admittedly, keeping Camelot in training as a four old is a gamble. He is a magnificent looking horse and is a superb breeding prospect. It would have been easy to understand him being sent to the breeding sheds. This gamble could very much pay off though.
A new trip and in the guidance of the master of Flat racing could see the 4-year-old reach new heights. Watch Camelot go and cement himself a place in history. After all, the best is yet to come.
Sport Is Everything. Jordan McCarthy.