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Kingdom of Camelot faces little danger

COULD Camelot possibly get even shorter in price for next month's Epsom Derby this weekend, without leaving his luxurious surroundings at Ballydoyle?

Tomorrow at Lingfield, eight runners will head to post hoping to claim Group Three honours over a 1m4f on the all-weather track as the rain has made Lingfield's turf course unraceable.

On Sunday, attention turns to Leopardstown and the Derrinstown Derby Trial - won in the past by such colts as Sinndar, Galileo, Dylan Thomas and Fame And Glory.

Can any of the runners in both of those races possibly make a notable impression to encourage punters to back them against Camelot in the highlight of flat racing's calendar? I suggest not.

Bonfire, the current second favourite for the Derby, was due to line up at Chester today, but he is now a non-runner and he may now be rerouted to next week's Dante Stakes at York.

French raider Mandaean has been a bit of a mover and shaker in the market over the last 24 hours but with little to inspire this weekend, we may have to rely on the Dante Stakes to throw up another positive, although North Light (2004), Motivator (2005) and Authorized(2007) are the only Dante winners to go on to Epsom glory since 1998.

There is no doubt that Camelot deserves to be the favourite for the opening Saturday of next month.

The impressive display in the Racing Post Trophy that meant he was the horse everyone was talking about all winter, was equalled, if not bettered when he dropped in and picked them off in the 2000 Guineas last weekend.


All suggestions leave him as a definite mile and a halfer, who can only improve from his debut run, and quite possibly those suggestions are spot on, but it wouldn't be racing if we didn't look for some opposition.

Quite simply if anything comes from the Lingfield race tomorrow to be within a few lengths of Camelot, yours truly will be speechless and it's arguable to say that tomorrow's Derby Trial is now nothing more than a glorified conditions race being run for more money than it deserves.

We won't know if the winner will get close to Camelot for some time, but I wouldn't be holding my breath waiting.

At Leopardstown, the field for the Derrinstown is made up mostly of Camelot's stable companions as John Oxx's Akeed Mofeed is the most significant 'outsider' in the race.

He was a doubt in midweek and should he take his chance, the son of Dubawi will have to build on his final run last term when beaten by David Livingston.

David Livingston didn't do his Derby claims much use yesterday as he was well beaten by Mickdaam at Chester when sent off the 6/4 favourite, although any horse would have to be excused on those unseasonal underfoot conditions.

Despite the betting suggesting different, surely the most impressive display of major Derby contenders other than Camelot has come from another Ballydoyle inmate - Imperial Monarch.

If you are not familiar with the two-time winner, you may remember a horse a few weeks ago racing on his own up the stand's side rail in Sandown on soft ground and getting up to lead in the shadows of the post.

That was Imperial Monarch as he claimed the Classic Trial under an inspired Joseph O'Brien but to put all that form into context; Rougemont was third beaten ten and three parts of a length that day and he is the likely favourite of tomorrow's Derby Trial at Lingfield, while before that Rougemont had beaten Mickdaam who had David Livingston well behind yesterday.

So while Imperial Monarch has a chance, on strict form you could surely rule out the whole of tomorrow's Lingfield race that finish behind Rougemont, as well as David Livingston and Akeed Mofeed.

If only racing was that simple. We know it's not. But that still doesn't stop all roads leading to the 6/4 about Camelot though.