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The legend of Camelot lives on!

2 Jun 2012

Camelot maintained his unbeaten record in scintillating style, cutting down his rivals with a devastating turn of foot to win Britain's most valuable horse race, the Investec Derby, by five breathtaking lengths.

Camelot and Joseph O’Brien pass the post five lengths clear of their nearest rivals in the 2012 Investec Derby. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

The hype around Camelot was fully justified today when the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt came from the back of the field with an unstoppable run to land Britian’s most valuable horse race, the £1,325,000 Investec Derby at Epsom, by five breathtaking lengths.

Having won the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup (sponsored by Investec) earlier in the afternoon with St Nicholas Abbey, it sealed a clean sweep for O’Brien in the three QIPCO British Champions Series races at the Investec Derby Festival – he won the Investec Oaks yesterday with Was.

It means that he has won no less than five of the eight Series races run so far this season to establish a 90 point lead in the Trainer of the Series table with 120 points, while his son Joseph O’Brien, who rode both Camelot and St Nicholas Abbey to victory, has won three of the eight races to hold a 40 point lead in the Jockey of the Series table with 75 points.

O’Brien senior is on course for a British Classic clean sweep if he can win the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on 15 September, a likely target for Camelot if his owners decide to try to make him the first Triple Crown winner (2000 Guineas-Derby-St Leger) since Nijinsky in 1970.

Settled towards the rear by O’Brien junior, Camelot was always moving well but had a lot of gound to make up on his stablemate, Astrology, who had kicked clear under Ryan Moore over two furlongs from home.

O’Brien did not panic and when he asked Camelot to quicken, he did so readily, cutting down the leader with a furlong to race and surging clear for an emphatic success which oozed class and brilliance.

He is the 1-3 favourite with the sponsor for the Ladbrokes St Leger over a mile and three-quarters, while the Irish Derby could be the next race on his agenda in July.

The fact that Camelot had enough speed to win the QIPCO 2000 Guineas over a mile on his first start of the season when his pedigree always suggested that middle distance trips, like today’s mile and a half, would be his forte, speaks volumes for the quality of this exceptional colt.

Part-owner Derrick Smith said: "This is the one everyone wants in racing. To win the Epsom Derby is a dream come true.

"What a horse, what a ride. You could see from the three pole it was all over.

"It (the Triple Crown) must be (on the agenda), mustn’t it, we might get pressurised into it, but we will talk with Aidan and make the right decision."

Aidan O’Brien said: "You can’t even dream of days like this.

"I was always happy, I know his (Joseph’s) body language by now and he looked confident.

"No-one can describe the feeling, things like this don’t happen.

"We’ll give the Triple Crown a lot of thought and the boys will make a decision and do whatever is best for the horse.

"The Triple Crown would be incredible."

Jospeh O’Brien said: "I was a bit worried as he didn’t come down the hill at all. He didn’t handle the track that well, so he did well to win.

"He’s a very special horse and I’m just very fortunate to be on his back. I owe a big thanks to the owners and everyone in the yard."