By Sean Goff | English St Leger
Camelot’s moment of destiny is fast approaching as he bids for a place in racing folklore with a Triple Crown bid in the English St Leger (3.20) at Doncaster on Saturday.
It’s almost six months since Aidan O’Brien’s colt got home by a neck in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket from French Fifteen over a mile and the winning margin led many to question whether the colt would stay the extra half mile in the English Derby.
The prospect of him becoming the first English Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970 was slim.
But when Aidan’s son, Joseph, pushed the button a furlong and a half out at Epsom he stretched clear to leave Main Sequence floundering in second like one of Usain Bolt’s opponents.
Suddenly, talk of a Triple Crown bid over the St Leger’s stamina sapping 1m 6f trip was on everyone’s lips.
Can he do it?
In the United States, Triple Crown bids are as common as failed drugs tests in the NFL with 12 horses being in contention since Affirmed and Steve Cauthen last did the business in 1978.
But on this side of the Atlantic only two, Nashwan (1989) and Sea the Stars (2009) have had a sniff since Nijinsky and Lester Piggott rolled home 42 years ago.
Major Dick Hern’s Nashwan was in the firing line for glory after dominating the summer game in 1989 but never took up the option.
It took another 20 years before John Oxx’s Sea the Stars emerged as a contender but he crowned his career on the track in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe instead.
If Camelot’s Triple Crown dream comes true in the St Leger it will be a fairytale for him and O’Brien who will become the first-ever trainer to win all five English Classics in the one season.
O’Brien’s potential Grand Slam has been the side-story to the main narrative of Camelot’s Triple Crown bid but the trainer won’t mind that if the 42-year-wait for racing immortality ends on Saturday at Doncaster.