Crying out for Camelot
Irish Derby would kill for Epsom hero but Triple Crown tilt looms
THE big question at the launch of tonight's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby will undoubtedly be guided towards Aidan O'Brien as we all wonder will Camelot line up at HQ later this month.
Although we are unlikely to get a definitive answer just yet, potentially the first horse since 1970 to become a Triple Crown winner, Camelot has many options, one of which includes attempting to add the Irish Derby to his English 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby triumphs. Another option, however, is the prospect of him having a mid-season break ahead of the third leg of his Triple Crown tilt, with the St Leger not until September.
A mid-season break is surely being heavily considered, especially if Camelot is going to go to Doncaster and then just three weeks later head across to Paris for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in what will be a busy autumn.
Irish racing could really do with Camelot at the Curragh on Derby Day, though. The race has been given a kiss of life by all concerned as it has been moved to a Saturday evening slot for the first time in its history, which is sure to help attract a healthy and vibrant crowd.
With a bit of luck from Mother Nature, a day basking in sunshine would mean there would be standing room only regardless of what horses make the line-up, but how nice it would be to see the one big household name of Irish racing wow them on the biggest occasion of the year.
Of course, Irish Derby day is more than likely the only chance the Irish public will get to see Camelot in competitive action on these shores this season, and therefore for the rest of his career.
Owing to what he has already achieved, Camelot is surely set to be whisked across to a lovely big stable at Coolmore to carry out his stud duties after his three-year-old season and therefore his racing days will be over at the end of this year.
Although holding an entry in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in early September, the St Leger the following week at Doncaster is surely going to be a more favourable aim for connections, who although yet to commit the horse to the Triple Crown, gave as close an indication as you would expect that is the route he would take after last Saturday's win.
Aidan O'Brien will go into this month's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby in search of a 10th win in the race, and a seventh in a row.
O'Brien's embarrassment of riches means that to achieve that amazing record and continue his winning sequence in the race, he doesn't necessarily have to rely on Camelot to win it for him, however.
Ballydoyle have two other obvious Irish Derby horses in Imperial Monarch, who was a seemingly unlucky loser in the French Derby on Sunday, and Astrology, who was just pipped for second in Saturday's Epsom Derby.
With those two horses still searching for a Classic to boost their own CVs, maybe the connections would see the Irish Derby as a chance to enhance their potential stud fees rather than let Camelot annihilate whatever may turn up on the day -- instead letting him get refreshed ahead of that busy autumn he can expect to have.
The options are open, but let's just hope that Camelot will get to follow O'Brien's previous two Epsom winners, Galileo and High Chaparral, and if you think back to the great Sea The Stars, who won a Group One every month from the Guineas to the Arc, there was no mid-season break needed there.
Let's hope we'll be closer to answering the question later this evening.