Camelot can turn dreams into reality

Aidan O'Brien's wonder horse looks in perfect shape for the Derby – and one day the Triple Crown

In the 10 years since his second consecutive Derby winner, Aidan O'Brien has saddled the runner-up five times.

Then there was Dylan Thomas, only third in 2006, but still in front with 50 yards to go. Last year, Treasure Beach was nailed by Pour Moi even as they reached the post. "We're very used to coming home humbled," O'Brien says ruefully. But then he has never had a colt bestride the betting quite like the unbeaten Camelot, already a Classic winner and the mount of his teenage son, Joseph. Little wonder, then, if the next 18 days seem to spread before them as such purgatory.

"Everyone puts so much into it," O'Brien said. "This is what we all live every day for. These are bred and reared to be Derby horses. And Camelot is flesh and blood. The worry is horrendous. But all I can do is my best. It's not always going to be good enough. You just try to get over each day as it comes along."

That last ambition had been rid of all triteness only the previous day, when Furner's Green broke down after the winning post at Longchamp, slamming his young rider to the ground. "It was shocking and terribly sad for the horse to lose his life," O'Brien said. "But Joseph was very lucky to be able to move on to another day. The horse turned over at full stretch, accelerating faster than anything else in the finish. If he'd got there a length earlier, he might have had four horses coming up behind him instead."

O'Brien had opened the gates to his Co Tipperary stables to a press tour hosted by the Derby sponsors, Investec. As a series of priceless animals cantered under a soft sky of rolling squalls and sunshine, it was noticeable that only one drew his trainer's gaze all the way to the horizon. There is no mistaking the primary focus at Ballydoyle this season. For Camelot has still only had three races, and O'Brien suspects that even success in the 2,000 Guineas represented little more than a foundation stone.

"I knew Joseph had in mind to teach him a lot in the race," he said. "Everything had come so easy to him. Even the Racing Post Trophy last year was like a piece of work. So, though we knew he was bred to get a lot farther, Joseph rode him like a six-furlong horse. And he did learn a lot. He settled, and came through horses; Joseph used the stick on both sides, and he put his head down and ran through gaps."

This Caesar among thoroughbreds has always had a special aura. O'Brien remembers the first time he saw the new arrival break out of a walk. "He was doing one of those extended trots that dressage judges look for," he remembers. "Normally you have to make a horse do that, but he was doing it effortlessly. His movement is perfection, really."

Potentially this could prove the last great legacy of his late sire, Montjeu. But Galileo is still around, down the road at Coolmore, where O'Brien's patrons have harnessed the genes of these two great stallions ever more purposefully to Epsom. Sure enough, two daughters of Galileo – Maybe and Kissed – confirmed themselves the stable's leading candidates for the Investec Oaks in a couple of swinging workouts over the famous Tattenham Corner gallop, laid down by O'Brien's namesake and predecessor, Vincent. And Camelot is likely to be joined by several others in the Derby, perhaps including Ernest Hemingway – a big, long-striding animal who would need decent ground – if he pleases in his trial at York on Thursday.

But it is Camelot, his very name saturated with mythic quality, who is preceded by all the expectation, all the mystique. Perhaps this is the horse to salvage the Triple Crown; even one some day to stand up to the paragon of the previous generation, Frankel, who reappears at Newbury on Saturday. Just to get the next bit right, however, is challenge enough for now. "I don't want to blow him up in any way, or anyone to think that I'm trying to," O'Brien said. "But when a horse like this comes along, you just want him to pass all his exams and show everyone what he can do."

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap: Musnad (9.20 Kempton)

Has offered encouragement on several occasions, most recently when finishing well at Doncaster.

 

Next best: Main Line (8.50 Kempton)

Difficult to know the substance of his impressive debut. Handicapper could only guess how much he had in hand – it might have been plenty.

 

One to watch: Dimension (James Fanshawe) has had a frustrating career and looked unlucky at Lingfield on Saturday, but eveything will fall into place soon.

 

Where the money's going: Excelebration is 3-1 from 7-2 with Paddy Power for the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, for which Frankel is 2-5 favourite.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower