Only a Merlin could say how this Camelot will go


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The Independent Online

It's all in place, really.

He even has the right sort of name for an Epsom colt. Camelot boasts looks and pedigree and matched his home reputation with a terribly flamboyant performance on his only public appearance. But the one thing you can't pretend he brings to the Racing Post Trophy is something vaguely resembling Group One form.

As things stand, in fact, the hot favourite has achieved far less than any of his five rivals at Doncaster today. He beat four horses at Leopardstown back in July and not one of them has managed to win since. He has been backed all week as though Merlin has cast a spell on the opposition, and has also been in demand for the 2012 Investec Derby. Given the strength of the juvenile team at Ballydoyle, he clearly has every right to prove himself a star in the making. But anyone having a bet today, at the odds, is obliged to take too giddy a leap of faith.

You can make an obvious case, in terms of value, for Fencing and Zip Top, but perhaps the most generous odds of all are those of 16-1 against Camelot's own stablemate. There is always a danger that Learn (3.00) will sacrifice his chance in guaranteeing a strong pace for the favourite, but progressive and strong form in maidens suggests he will run a career best stepped up a furlong on this more galloping track. Nobody on the planet knows how Camelot, a son of Montjeu, might react to a scrap – whereas Learn looks like one of those Galileo colts that would run through walls.

Barney McGrew (2.00) confirmed his stable's return to form when flying home into third at York the other day and can confirm himself very well handicapped after his own quiet spell.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Beaten Up (2.45 Newbury)

Has taken the first two rungs on the ladder with real flair, and can improve past some generally exposed rivals over a trip that should bring out even more on pedigree.

Next Best

Mister Hyde (4.15 Chepstow)

Remains relatively unexposed and, having suggested on a couple of occasions that he can surpass this sort of mark, may well have been primed to prove as much today.

One To Watch

Tawaasul (William Haggas) has the build and genes to keep developing and made an encouraging debut at Newbury yesterday.

Where the money's going

Zip Top is 9-1 from 10-1 with Sky Bet for the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster today.