O’Brien takes blame for Camelot defeat
Sunday 16 September 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
Aidan O’Brien took the blame for the defeat of Camelot in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.
Camelot failed to inject the sort of pace that saw him land the 2,000 Guineas and Derby and although Mickael Barzalona and Encke got first run on the Triple Crown-seeking pair of Joseph O’Brien and his mount, the Godolphin partnership always looked like holding on.
Six of the last ten St Legers were run in a quicker time than Saturday’s event, and Scorpion and Conduit’s wins were on rain-softened going.
"We expected him to win and if I thought they were going to go that steady I would have had a pacemaker in or two pacemakers. But that's my fault,” said the crestfallen trainer.
"How many times do I do it and make a hash of it (running pacemakers), and then I made a hash of it by not having any."
"He ran a great race but just got beat. It's disappointing for everybody but that's the way it is. That's racing.
"I was sure they were going to go a pace, but that's the way it was."
Much as when O’Brien rode Camelot in the Derby he anchored the son of Montjeu at the back of the field in an effort to get the trip, but this time there was not electric pace that characterised is success at Epsom.
Barzalona had flown before O’Brien managed to extricate himself from behind a wall of horses, but the trainer admitted there was little else his son could have done holding up Camelot.
“The minute the gates opened, Joseph was where he was and he couldn't do anything about it,” O’Brien continued. “That's exactly where I would have wanted him to be - when he is a horse going this distance. Joseph had to relax him and he did, but Camelot just tanked a little bit early because the pace was steady.
"Joseph had to take his time down the straight and wait for the gaps to come, which you would do with Camelot anyway. When the gaps came, the winner was in probably a handier position and was gone - when Camelot got out, he just stayed on rather than quickened up.”
The nine 2,000 Guineas and Derby winners who tried and failed in the St Leger:
1843 Cotherstone - 4-7 favourite, second to Nutwith (100-6), beaten a head
1869 Pretender - 5-6 favourite, unplaced behind Pero Gomez (3-1)
1882 Shotover - 100-15, third to Dutch Oven (40-1), beaten 5½ lengths. The only filly to attempt the premier Triple Crown.
1888 Ayrshire - 2-1 favourite, unplaced behind Seabreeze (5-2)
1894 Ladas - 1-4 favourite, second to Throstle (50-1), beaten 3/4 length
1904 St Amant - 4-1, 6th and last behind Pretty Polly (2-5f)
1909 Minoru - 7-4, 4th to Bayardo (10-11f)
1925 Manna - 7-2 joint favourite, 10th behind Solario (7-2 jf)
1931 Cameronian - 5-6 favourite, 10th and last behind Sandwich (9-1)