Luck will not be a factor today for Camelot
15 September 2012
4.15pm Doncaster: Lay Strong Suit
6.05pm Curragh: Lay Fame And Glory
Seneca the younger, the Roman philosopher and statesman, once wrote that, “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”
Among the many pearls that Aidan O’Brien came out with earlier this week during his press day at Ballydoyle ahead of Camelot’s date with history in the St Leger today was that he is not a believer in luck. Much as Seneca outlined, O’Brien has bought into the mantra that meticulous planning pays dividends and with Camelot at Doncaster he has found the opportunity of a lifetime.
Consider the Irish trainer’s statement: “Accidents never just happen, they are always caused along the line. There is always a list of circumstances which cause accidents.” You may think that leaving it until this morning to ship Camelot over to Yorkshire is a little on the late side but you can be sure that the Ballydoyle machine has checked the weather and consulted the AA for any roadworks.
Nothing will be left to chance and in all probability Camelot will become the 16th colt to land the elusive Triple Crown at Town Moor this afternoon.
If that is the case then the media will crank into overdrive but I suspect that although we tend to laud the victorious animal it is in fact O’Brien who should receive the plaudits this afternoon if Camelot does indeed prevail.
The Irishman will become the first trainer to secure victories in all five British Classics in the same season and to think that the 2,000 Guineas, the youngest of the three Triple Crown races, was inaugurated way back in 1809. To put it into further perspective it took Sir Michael Stoute until 2008 simply to win all five British Classics at all.
It will be a landmark event, and one which dwarfs Camelot’s achievement – after all more horses have succeeded in their bid for the Triple Crown than have failed.
Of course O’Brien will have achieved the feat by having at his disposal the best bloodstock in the world and, Thought Worthy and perhaps the improving Ursa Major aside, the son of Montjeu has very little to beat.
Yet it is the consistenly brilliant management of that bloodstock that has manoeuvred Camelot into his historic position today. You can imagine the meeting at some eye-wateringly expensive restaurant where owner Derrick Smith, John Magnier and Michael Tabor, AKA “The Lads,” discussed Camelot’s future following the Derby after another €500 bottle of claret.
They must have realised that this year’s three-year-old crop is poor by any country’s standards. Camelot has beaten 33 horses in his career and only nine of those have gone on to win a race. Just four of them are of Group class. The whole Coolmore operation has been about breeding champions and yet a tilt at racing immortality has virtually been handed to them on an expensive piece of china.
Their good fortune has not been a coincidence though and with this theme in mind the lack of successthis season enjoyed by Strong Suit, who lines up in today’s Park Stakes, cannot also be atributed to one of those twists of fate.
Strong Suit has found a way to get beaten throughout his whole four-year-old career and at just over 2-1 Richard Hannon’s talented colt looks a lay.
Strong Suit had his ground at Newbury when beaten by Lethal Force and although it was a race that was one by an astute piece of race-riding from Adam Kirby why cannot that not happen once again in a small field today?
The likes of Soul and Foxtrot Romeo would have chances and at anything under 3-1 I’m a layer.
Fame And Glory in the Irish St Leger looks to be another to have had his day. I like the look of Hartani at 5-1 and with the improving Aiken and Michael Owen’s Brown Panther running up to the sort of form recently that can outpoint the favourite I’m laying the former Gold Cup winner as well. I just don’t think he looks lucky today.