Camelot goes back to Leopardstown basics


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The Independent Online

Those at Leopardstown this evening will be presented with the considerable bonus of being able to witness a public training spin by Camelot ahead of his date with history in the St Leger next month. The unbeaten 2,000 Guineas and Derby hero will work before racing, his trainer Aidan O'Brien having opted for a racecourse gallop with some stablemates, rather than the stresses of a race – the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York next week had been a possibility – as a key part of the colt's build-up to the oldest, longest and toughest Classic at Doncaster.

Camelot, who will attempt in the St Leger to become the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970, started his career at the Co Dublin track in July last year, when his reputation preceded him and he won his maiden, at odds of 1-3, by two easy lengths. Since then, the son of Montjeu has raced only at the highest level, winning the Racing Post Trophy and, most recently, the Irish Derby in June. "We are delighted to see him return here," said Leopardstown's manager, Pat Keogh. "We've watched him with great pride as he's become a great champion."

Johnny Murtagh will be absent from next week's Ebor meeting at York, having been ruled out on medical grounds. The Irishman suffered a facial injury at the Curragh on Sunday, but his hopes that he would recover in time for the four-day Knavesmire fixture were dashed yesterday morning after he saw his specialist at a Dublin hospital.

Murtagh was kicked by the two-year-old filly Lottie Dod after she unshipped him before the Phoenix Stakes, damaging a cheekbone. "It's been confirmed that I have a fracture to the bone under my eye, and a couple of cracks too," he said. "It's been recommended that I don't ride for three weeks from when it happened, so I'll be missing York."

At Deauville yesterday Saint Baudolino took a step toward the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with a clear-cut success in the Prix Guillaume d'Ornano. The Pivotal colt was dropping in class after his close third in last month's Grand Prix de Paris and produced an eyecatching change of gear in the closing stages to surge three lengths away from Prix Jean Prat winner Aesop's Fables, likewise trained by André Fabre for the Godolphin operation.

Saint Baudolino is now as short as 14-1 to give Fabre an eighth success in the Longchamp showpiece, for which Camelot is generally 5-2 favourite.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Xpres Maite (5.45 Beverley) Not nearly as good as he was, but honest and a straightforward ride. Today's ground and distance will suit and now on a lifetime low mark.

Next best

Kittens (7.50 Chepstow) Has proved thoroughly consistent this term and has shaped as if today's 12 furlongs will suit well. Probably still progressing; she did not have the run of the race when a close third last time.

One to watch

To judge by some recent homework, Cayuga (Sir Michael Stoute) should not be missed when he starts his career in middle-distance handicaps.

Where the money's going

Ladbrokes offer 10-1 against the full-brothers Frankel (in the International) and Noble Mission (Great Voltigeur Stakes) both winning at York on Wednesday.