It’s somewhat apt that horse called Camelot should win the Epsom Derby in front of a Queen who is in the midst of celebrating 60 years on the throne.
(Despite being of convict stock and totally lacking in culture, I will resist the urge for throne humour!).
It was a super win by a super athlete and the big question on everyone’s lips now is, will he attempt to capture England’s Triple Crown (2000 Guineas-Derby-St Leger)?
While the owners and trainers decide, here’s some facts and figures to chew over …
- This was the 233rd running of the Derby (initially staged in 1780 … 81 years before the first Melbourne Cup and 105 years prior to the inaugural Kentucky Derby).
- The nine runners in 2012 was the smallest Derby field since 1907, although the fewest ever was four in 1794 (the largest field was 34 in 1862).
- This was trainer Aidan O’Brien’s third Derby victory after Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002). Aidan has saddled up 202 Group One winners and he could become the first trainer in modern times to make a clean sweep of the Classics if Camelot takes out the St Leger in September.
- It was the first time that a father-son combination has taken out the Derby with 19 year old, Joseph O’Brien booting home the favourite. Joseph has been riding just on three years and has now won nine Group Ones in the past 12 months (helps a bit when you ride for that kind of stable!). Joseph is the youngest jockey to win the race since Lester Piggott won the first of nine as an 18 year old back in 1954.
- Camelot was only having his fourth start when taking out the Derby.
- Camelot was the first odds on favourite to win the Derby since Shergar in 1981 (Shergar still holds the record for the biggest winning margin – 10 lengths. Shergar was stolen by masked gunmen from Ballymany Stud in Ireland on 6 February 1983 and was never seen again).
- If Camelot wins the St Leger he will become the first horse since Nijinsky in 1970 (ridden by Lester Piggott) to capture the Triple Crown.
- Camelot’s sire, Montjeu (a son of Sadler’s Wells who died in March) has now produced four of the last eight Derby winners.
But now back to Queen Liz …
After 60 years of trying – her first runner was Aureole (who finished second in 1953, just weeks after her coronation) – the next best was Carlton House who finished third as 5/2 favourite last year.
Fittingly though, Carlton House won his first race in over 12 months last Thursday when taking out the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown.