Camelot set to revive O'Brien

Potential Triple Crown champion Camelot can restore Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien's Epsom Derby fortunes by following up his 2,000 Guineas triumph with another classic success.


Despite heavy firepower over the years, O'Brien has not won the Derby since 2002 when High Chaparral followed up the victory of stable mate Galileo 12 months earlier but Camelot has the class and the form to change his fortunes.

Bookmakers are taking no chances and, with the trainer's 19-year-old jockey son Joseph growing all the time in experience, they rate the colt a heavy odds-on favourite at 8-15.

He is also quoted to at 3-1 to become the first horse since Nijinsky in 1970 to land the Triple Crown of the Guineas, Derby and St Leger, raced at Doncaster in September.

O'Brien told a recent media gathering: "He is one of those very special horses. He is very relaxed, very straightforward and very calm but has a lot of nervous energy."

However, he added: "We are under no illusions with the Derby. We had two very special horses in High Chaparral and Galileo and have not won it since.

"The race is a very difficult test of a horse. There cannot be any chink in their armour and everything has to go right on the day. We are delighted to get there with horses with chances."

O'Brien also races 8-1 third favourite Astrology, an impressive winner last month of Chester's Dee Stakes, a useful Derby trial. Ex-champion jockey Ryan Moore takes the mount.

English trainer Andrew Balding heads the home challenge with 9-2 second favourite Bonfire, who ran an excellent trial when winning the Dante Stakes at York.

Main Sequence (9-1) is a first runner in the classic for trainer David Lanigan.

Unbeaten in his four races to date, the horse faces a much bigger task on Saturday but jockey Ted Durcan, confident the colt will last the Derby distance, said: "He'll stay a mile and a half (2.4 km) standing on his head and he's on the way up."

Hayley Turner has the ride in the nine-strong field on 66-1 outsider Cavaleiro to become only the second woman to take part in the race after Alex Greaves, last on Portuguese Lil in 1996.

At least Turner will be at Epsom, as opposed to Frankie Dettori whose Godolphin stable does not have a runner this year.

That means the charismatic pilot will be riding at Haydock Park 350 kms to the north and out of the limelight.

Intriguingly, Godolphin do have a runner in Friday's Epsom Oaks, the classic for fillies, but the mount has gone to one of their younger generation of pilots, Mickael Barzalona, winner of the 2011 Derby on Pour Moi.

Godolphin have explained the big race rides are being be shared around and Dettori, 41, bouncy as ever, has said: "Let's get to Royal Ascot (later in June) and see what happens."

Betting: 8-15 Camelot, 9-2 Bonfire, 8-1 Astrology, 10-1 Main Sequence, 16-1 Thought Worthy, 25-1 Mickdaam, 50-1 Rugged Cross, 66-1 Cavaleiro, 66-1 Minimise Risk.

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