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Camelot has the stamina

AIDAN O'BRIEN is confident Camelot will not lack for stamina when he bids to follow up his 2000 Guineas triumph in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

The son of Montjeu made a winning return when coming from last to first in the season's opening Classic at Newmarket. Sea The Stars completed the Guineas-Derby double in 2009 and Camelot is odds-on with some bookmakers to follow suit as he steps up half a mile in trip.

"Being by Montjeu, you would have to be optimistic that he will stay, but there are also serious Danehill and Kingmambo traits in Camelot, and he has always been a horse with tremendous speed," said O'Brien.

"However, I have not seen anything to suggest that he will not stay the trip at Epsom, but we won't find out until the day."

The Ballydoyle handler admits his charge has other questions to answer, namely how he will handle Epsom's undulations and if his nerves will stand up pre-race.

He said: "Epsom is a unique atmosphere and can get to many horses and while Camelot is a calm individual and very relaxed, like so many with such an explosive burst of acceleration he has lots of nervous energy, so we have to be careful with him.

"I am a born worrier and so many things can go wrong.

"There is the opposition and also the undulations, though he seemed to handle the dips well enough at Newmarket and he works regularly around our replica of Epsom, which includes our version of Tattenham Corner.

"Camelot has been a special horse from day one. We were very nervous before the Guineas, especially as we knew that Joseph was going to drop him out and ride him like a doubtful stayer.

"Joseph wanted him to learn at Newmarket, and what I liked was the way that Camelot came through the gaps between horses and put his head down and fought.

"Camelot has the looks, the pedigree and the presence, and he reminds me of a dressage horse in that his movement is perfection."

The trainer's son, Joseph, has done the steering on Camelot on each of his three starts to date and is coming in for plenty more high-profile rides for the yard. O'Brien senior admits it does make the big-race winners all the sweeter when Joseph is in the saddle.

"We are enjoying what is a fairytale with Joseph riding these big winners, but I don't even want to think about how I would feel if the dream became reality at Epsom," he said.

"Joseph has never known anything but horses from the moment he could walk. He used to sit in the back of the jeep with me on the gallops in the mornings before he went to school, and then he would ride out every weekend."

O'Brien, meanwhile, has warned Ernest Hemingway will only run in Thursday's Betfred Dante Stakes at York if conditions are deemed suitable.

The Galileo colt won by a full 10 lengths on his only start to date at Dundalk and is a best-priced 25-1 for the Derby.

He is due to test his credentials in the recognised trial on the Knavesmire on Thursday, but his participation is ground dependant.

O'Brien said: "Ernest Hemingway is in the Dante, but he would only go to York if the ground was good or better.

"It is doubtful he would go to Epsom if he misses York."


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