Camelot secures Derby double

Camelot preserved his unbeaten record in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Camelot preserved his unbeaten record in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Racing on heavy ground for the first time, his trainer Aidan O’Brien had expressed concerns that the conditions could be too testing.

Settled fourth of the five runners by Joseph O’Brien, the 1-5 favourite took up the running two furlongs out but was made to pull out all the stops by Born To Sea.

The winner hung to his left close home but did enough to win by two lengths.

Epsom third Astrology took the small field along but with half a mile to run, he began to fade.

Everything appeared to be going to plan for the favourite, although he did not look entirely comfortable on the ground and changed his legs on more than one occasion.

Johnny Murtagh tried to pounce late on Born To Sea, but once O’Brien put his stick down and drove Camelot out to the line, he never looked like being beaten.

Light Heavy finished third for Jim Bolger.

With victories in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Derby at Epsom already in the bag, Camelot still has the option of tackling the St Leger at Doncaster in September and trying to become the first winner of the Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970.

William Hill left Camelot unchanged at 1-3 for the Leger while Paddy Power offer 1-5 about his chance, with a run.

O’Brien was winning the Irish Classic for the seventh successive year and Camelot is his 10th winner of the race overall.

He said: “We really felt it wasn’t the right thing (to run on this ground) but he’s a great horse.

“He’s a real fast ground horse. We appreciate all the hard work everyone’s put in, the sponsors, The Curragh – I can’t say how thrilled we are to be part of it.

“It doesn’t get any better than this. These are days you can’t dream of.

“I never would have believed it could ever happen.

“He’s by far the best we’ve had – we’ve never had anything like this.

“He had the speed to win the Guineas, the class to win the Derby and then he had to have class, courage and stamina to win today.

“Obviously the lads will speak about the Triple Crown now, wouldn’t it be something to dream about?”

O'Brien jnr said: "He wasn't handling the ground at all.

“He has a big heart and tries very hard. He’s got himself out of a hole because he hated that ground.

“I travelled very well, nice and relaxed, I never had a worry throughout the race, only he was hating the ground!

“I knew underneath me that he wasn’t liking it and it’s testament to the horse he is that he’s won today.

“I think he’s a very, very good horse. He showed today how big a heart he has, that he can pull himself through that ground and still win big races quite easy.”

Co-owner John Magnier said: “He hated the ground – we were lucky to get away with it.

“We’ll have to talk to Michael (Tabor) and Derrick (Smith) about the Triple Crown but they’re older than me so they’ll want to go there!”

Stan James now make Camelot their 1-3 favourite for the final leg of the Triple Crown at Doncaster.

“Camelot has now won three Classics from three starts this season and the current offer of 1-3 for the St Leger is more likely to be closer to 1-10 on the day,” said spokesman Joseph Burke.

“I want to be at Doncaster to see the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970, so I’m off to book my flights now!”

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