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Camelot prepares for his date with destiny

10 Sep 2012

The unbeaten Aidan O'Brien-trained colt will bid to become the first horse since Nijinsky in 1970 to win the Triple Crown when he tackles Saturday's Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

Camelot is king of all he surveys at his Ballydoyle stables as he poses for the cameras with his big race jockey, Jospeh O’Brien. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

The big day at Doncaster is fast approaching – on Saturday Camelot will have his date with destiny.

In May the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarket and in June he stormed to an impressive success in the Investec Derby over a mile and a half at Epsom.

No horse since the legendary Nijinsky in 1970 has achieved the Guineas-Derby-St Leger Triple Crown, but that is what beckons for Camelot if he has the stamina to last out the extended mile and three-quarters trip of the Ladbrokes-sponsored final Classic of the season.

Camelot has yet to taste defeat in five career starts and while he has yet to achieve anything comparable to the amazing Frankel in ratings terms – Frankel has twice run to 140, but Camelot has yet to better the 124 rating he achieved in the Investec Derby – he is a colt of huge potential and if he can pull off the Triple Crown, he will become one of the all-time greats.

He will face a maximum of 10 rivals on Saturday, with the opposing jockeys and trainers doubtless already planning how they can exploit any potential weakness in his stamina.

Aidan O’Brien said today: "I heard Lester (Piggott) saying the Leger is nearly two miles, so we’re asking a Guineas winner to run way beyond his comfort zone.

"They nearly have to be Gold Cup horses to get the Leger trip. When you go beyond the mile-and-a-half they have to have the extra stamina to cope.

"We ran a lot of horses in the Gold Cup who failed before Yeats came along. Some horses go there, it takes so much out of them, they never go back.

"But that’s what the Triple Crown is. It’s a marvellous – the full test of a three-year-old.

"We’ve had lots of horses here over the years who’ve failed the test, not got to the final exam or we never dreamed of asking them to sit it as we didn’t think they had any chance of passing it.

"Camelot’s different, he looks different, everything about him is different.

"There’s a different vibe around him, he’s a different character, he’s not like the normal horse made of flesh and blood, there’s an aura around him."

Will he show his class and complete an extraordinary feat on Saturday?

Amongst those looking to lower his colours are the Investec Derby runner-up, Main Sequence, who looked to be crying out for a longer trip when runner-up in the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last time.

The narrow winner of that race, Thought Worthy, and the third horse, Encke, and fifth, Thomas Chippendale, also remain engaged in Saturday’s contest.

The well-regarded Michelangelo, stablemate of Thought Worthy, is also a likely runner for trainer John Gosden.

None of them can match Camelot’s form, however, and if he stays the distance – one mile six furlongs and 132 yards – he will surely win.

The eyes of the racing world will be watching…