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Camelot sealing a two-length victory in Saturday's Irish Derby

  PICTURE: David Cramphorn  

Camelot bags third Classic in Irish Derby

Report: Curragh, Saturday

Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo colts and filles

CAMELOT landed his third Classic of the season when he added the Irish Derby to his victories in the 2,000 Guineas and Derby on Saturday night.

But the Montjeu colt, who was giving trainer Aidan O'Brien his seventh successive win in the race and tenth in total, was not as impressive as he had been at Epsom in the Derby.

Settled in fourth behind pacemaking stablemate Astrology, Akeed Mofeed and Light Heavy, the 1-5 favourite travelled well with Born To Sea tucked in behind him.

Astrology, third in the Derby, soon folded and Akeed Mofeed and Light Heavy passed him, although Camelot quickly cruised by them into the lead.

However, his backers may have had a worry or two when he drifted left under pressure and Born To Sea began to challenge.

Camelot, though, battled on well under O'Brien's son Joseph to seal a two-length victory.

O'Brien, who withdrew second-favourite Imperial Monarch on Saturday morning because of the testing conditions at the Curragh, said: "We were very worried about the ground for Camelot. At home he doesn't even walk on that ground. He was tested in every way today so I can't tell you how delighted we are. It was an incredible performance."

Aidan O'Brien and Joseph O'Brien - Epsom June 2012

Aidan O'Brien and Joseph O'Brien

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Joseph O'Brien added: "He hated the ground all the way and I was worried turning in that he was struggling. He has a big heart."

The Ladbrokes St Leger and the chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinksy in 1970 is Camelot's next target.

John Magnier, who owns the three-year-old with Coolmore partners Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, said: "He was always going to have a rest after today and I know Derrick and Michael's dream is to have a Triple Crown winner. We will, if all goes well, try and make him a Triple Crown winner."

He is 1-5 (from 1-4) with Paddy Power for St Leger in September. The same firm left him as 2-1 favourite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. He is unchanged for both races with William Hill at 1-3 (St Leger) and 5-2 (Arc).

Born To Sea, a half-brother to the brilliant Sea The Stars, had run with promise in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes after flopping in the 2,000 Guineas.

Trainer John Oxx, who also handled Sea The Stars' career, said: "Johnny [Murtagh] thought he had him for a while and so did I but both horses were running around on the ground.

"Every time Born To Sea runs he runs better and he ran very well tonight. Maybe the ground just got to him in the last 100 yards but he made a race of it. He showed he stays nicely enough and I'd say we'll now keep him to a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half."

John Oxx

John Oxx: trains Born To Sea

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Oxx was also represented by the well-regarded Akeed Mofeed, who was having his first start for 279 days.

The trainer added: "Akeed Mofeed blew up and the ground was too testing for a horse having his first run but he ran a good race for a long way."

Splitting the Oxx pair was the Jim Bolger-trained Light Heavy, who was third under Kevin Manning.

"Kevin said he just couldn't get his feet out of the ground so in the circumstances it was a very good run and I'm happy," said Bolger. "He's only had five runs so I think there is more improvement in him. He's versatile trip-wise and we have plenty of options, but I wouldn't think he'll step down in trip."

Of Camelot, Bolger added: "We knew what a smart horse Camelot was coming here today and he has gone out and proved that."

Like Imperial Monarch, Speaking Of Which was withdrawn on Saturday because of the ground.

 

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