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Sunday 17 December 2017

Camelot's on course for Derby

Curragh crown still target for O'Brien

CAMELOT is still on course to take his place in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on June 30.

Aidan O'Brien's unbeaten colt is widely expected to chase a first British Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970 if he can add the Ladbrokes St Leger to victories this season in the Qipco 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby.

He is expected to have a first start on home soil since his racecourse debut when heading to the Curragh in a week and a half's time.

Anne Marie O'Brien, the trainer's wife, said: "Aidan is planning to run Camelot in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby but no final decision has been taken yet.

"He always has a few horses in the race and the other horses (Imperial Monarch, Astrology and Athens) are still all in the mix. It will be the weekend before plans are finalised."

Dermot Weld is likely to run recent Group Three winner Speaking Of Which, with John Oxx represented by Akeed Mofeed and Call to Battle and Jim Bolger with Light Heavy.

Main Sequence, runner-up to Camelot in the Investec Derby, will head to France in a month's time for his next start.

David Lanigan's progressive colt, who is owned by the Niarchos family, won the Lingfield Derby Trial and was anything but disgraced in losing his unbeaten record at Epsom when getting closest to Camelot.

Next week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, for which the chestnut Main Sequence would have to be supplemented, had been under consideration but the owner's racing manager, Alan Cooper, said: "We did speak to the Curragh but we decided to give him some more time.

"The plan is to go for the Grand Prix de Paris (at Longchamp) on July 14."

Dunaden and Red Cadeaux could be set to clash again in Saturday's Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Mikel Delzangles' Dunaden beat Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux by a nose in last November's Melbourne Cup and confirmed superiority in the Hong Kong Vase. The pair face plenty of competition among 18 entries in the Group Two event as John Gosden has confirmed the fast-improving Aiken, who beat Dunaden in the Grand Prix de Chantilly, and last year's St Leger winner Masked Marvel.

Last year's winner, Await The Dawn, is missing from the O'Brien squad, while the trainer has included Fame And Glory, presumably for if there is a reason he cannot compete in the Gold Cup. O'Brien can also pick from Memphis Tennessee, Robin Hood, Treasure Beach and Windsor Palace.

Adding strength in depth are Testosterone, a very smart filly in France who has moved to Dunlop, and Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Sea Moon.

Michael Stoute's colt just beat another Hardwicke entry, Dandino, on his comeback at Goodwood.

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