Aidan O’Brien’s dominance of the British Classics this year continued with Camelot’s win in the Epsom Derby. Almost as soon as he’d crossed the line, carrying O’Brien’s 19-year old son Joseph on his back, talk of the Triple Crown began to fill the air.
It should be noted that this was the first time in 233 years that a father son team won the Epsom Derby but this is mere trivia compared to the possibility of a first Triple Crown since 1970. Though not necessarily to the proud father of a young jockey who now has nine Grade 1 wins in the last twelve months and has all the markings of a real star.
Nijinsky was trained by another O’Brien, the legendary Vincent, and was the last horse to achieve the feat. But as recently as 2009 Sea The Stars was on course to do match him. The decision was made to run him in the prestigious Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe instead. A race which Sea the Stars won to complete a unique treble of his own, being the only horse ever to win the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Prix de L’Arc in the one year.
Lester Piggott, who rode Nijinsky, was at Epsom yesterday to pass on some words of wisdom. “Tell Joseph, don’t be in a hurry,” were the simple words of advice he offered via Joseph’s mum. Whether they were passed on or not he still managed to heed them.
There was no sign of panic as stablemate Astrology had a clear lead at Tattenham Corner. When he asked Camelot to get a move on he did so with consummate ease, catching Astrology and striding to a five length lead by the finish.
“You can’t even dream of days like this,” said O’Brien snr in the aftermath of his son’s Derby winning ride on Camelot.
“We’ll give the Triple Crown a lot of thought and the boys will make a decision and do whatever is best for the horse. The Triple Crown would be incredible.”
The manner of Camelot’s Epsom Derby win makes him a heavy odds-on favourite to win the St Leger and complete the first Triple Crown in 42 years. Aidan O’Brien is yet to confirm his participation but what father could pass up the opportunity of helping to etch his son’s name in the history books?