It would be premature to write off his peers, with ample time for things to improve, but for now Camelot bestrides the present Classic crop as its one colossus. By pursuing the Triple Crown, moreover, his connections are deferring a first encounter with any older horse – never mind one named Frankel. Already the possibility of Camelot's reputation being exposed to the outstanding four-year-old seems depressingly remote. At least for the time being, then, it seems as though the generations will only converge on the margins.
Not one British three-year-old has been deemed worthy of an entry in the Betfair King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, later this month. A block entry from Ballydoyle looks likely to reduce to older horses, meanwhile, with Camelot now taking a break and Imperial Monarch instead likely to run in France the previous weekend. And while it would duly come as a timely tonic, should a three-year-old manage some kind of impact in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, bookmakers are pessimistic on their behalf.
The sponsors make So You Think, making his final appearance before his repatriation for a stud career in Australia, as short as 10-11 to follow up his success last year. Farhh is 4-1 after being supplemented yesterday by Godolphin, and Nathaniel 9-1. The only three-year-old given a real chance, at 12-1, is Bonfire; Daddy Long Legs and Cogito are 20-1 and 50-1 respectively.
Sent off second favourite against Camelot in the Derby, Bonfire finished only sixth of nine but is thought not to have handled the track. There must also be a chance he did not get home, and on either count he is entitled to put that disappointment behind him, returning to 10 furlongs in only the fifth race of his life.
Now that Crackerjack King has been exported from Italy to join Marco Botti in Newmarket, the only Continental acceptor is Giofra – thrashed eight lengths by Cirrus Des Aigles at Longchamp in April. The winner that day has since finished second in the Prix d'Ispahan, at the same track, after which he tested positive to a prohibited anti-inflammatory drug. His trainer, Corine Barande-Barbe, suspects foul play and said yesterday she has asked police to investigate how a "massive" dose might have entered her stable star's system.
"I'm very surprised and very afraid," she said. "Because if someone can get to the horse, they could kill him. If it happens to us, it can happen to anybody. If people begin to hate and are jealous, it is terrible. I have nothing to hide. We are sure we didn't give him anything. I am confident in my yard. People can only get into his box with a key.
"The vet told me it is likely he has been given it the night before, or on the morning of the race, as it is so strong. Nobody would be stupid enough to give him something then. Anywhere else in the world – Ascot, Meydan, Hong Kong – nobody goes to the stables, yet at Longchamp everybody goes to the stables and they can hurt your horse."
Chris McGrath's Nap: Never Perfect (4.00 Hamilton)
Slipping down the weights after making little impact so far this term but shaped better last time out, has few miles on the clock, and is from stable showing signs of revival now.
Next Best: Typhon (6.50 Kempton)
Showed ability on debut over course and distance, running green before regrouping into midfield, he can improve past the third that day, Bay Laurel.
Where The Money's Going: The United States, a Galileo colt who won his debut at the Curragh on Sunday, is 20s from 33-1 with Paddy Power for next year's Qipco 2,000 Guineas.