O'Brien feels a 'lot of tension'

Niall Cronin

NOT in any other year would the attention of horseracing be deflected away from a Triple Crown bid as it has been away from Camelot, but in a year in which Frankel has dominated, the success story of Camelot has been slightly overlooked.

THERE will be no umbrella over Camelot this week, however, and you can expect the Ballydoyle stable star to dominate most stories regarding this sport between now and next Monday at the earliest.

A number of weeks this year have been all about Frankel and what he has done or what he will attempt next, but this coming week is all about Saturday's Doncaster St Leger and the possibility of Camelot emulating a past Ballydoyle resident in Nijinsky.

A statue of the Vincent O'Brien-trained legend stands tall in Ballydoyle where Aidan now trains and while its presence is probably second nature to the trainer, you'd imagine if Camelot fails to win on Saturday, the presence of the statue will ring home just what could have been.


Instead, the likelihood is that a new statue will be erected, one of Camelot. It will ring home to anyone who visits that Aidan and his team matched with Camelot the rare Triple Crown - what Vincent and his team achieved over four decades previously with Nijinsky.

A total of 10 other colts stood their ground alongside Camelot at the latest forfeit stage, two of those trained by O'Brien (one, Chamonix, won yesterday at Galway), and three are trained by John Gosden.

Tommy Carmody's Ursa Major could go to the Irish equivalent at the Curragh, while the other four are intended runners.

O'Brien said yesterday: "The ground would hopefully stay good - that's what went wrong at the Curragh -- he hasn't got a soft ground action. He's very low, he doesn't move off the ground."

O'Brien, so often coolness personified, admitted: "The tension is just about bearable at the moment," as the countdown to history beckons.

"The distance is different," he admitted. "It's nearly two miles and there's no doubt about it they nearly have to be a Gold Cup horse to get that trip in our experience."

O'Brien is vastly experienced but suggested about Camelot: "He was different form day one."


He also revealed that everything is revolving around Doncaster on Saturday despite a potentially big weekend with other Group One assignments for the yard. "You cannot take anything for granted, we all have to keep focused on the St Leger."

A reason Frankel has got the attention of those not-so-regular racing enthusiasts this year is because of his longevity. Now in his third year as a racehorse, Frankel, like some of the most popular jumping horses, has had time to grow on his audience and a decision on Camelot doing something similar has yet to be made.

Many would expect the son on Montjeu to be whisked across the road into Coolmore for his stud duties as soon as he completes the Triple Crown on Saturday, but neither the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe or even a four-year-old campaign have been ruled out for the unbeaten five-time winner.