THE HONOUR AND THE GLORY

The Honour And The Glory
The Honour And The Glory
By Ian Ogg

Camelot

The whispers have been growing louder.

Even before the QIPCO 2000 Guineas had been run there was talk about the potential of Camelot attempting the Triple Crown with the middle-distance bred colt a short-priced favourite for the first two Classics.

The son of Montjeu is beginning to win over his doubters, adding substance to the hype and he’s an even shorter price to win the Labdrokes’St Leger with few believing that there’s a colt from his peer group capable of making him break into a sweat.

There are so many options open to connections and so many factors to take into consideration with a battalion of smart middle distance colts to fight on all fronts while there’s a huge void in the breeding following the premature demise of Montjeu.

One would like to think that the continuing success of Galileo lessens the urgency to rush Camelot off to the paddocks while another Derby winning son of Montjeu in Pour Moi has already taken up residence at Coolmore Ireland.

Throw in the likes of Canford Cliffs and Henrythenavigator, the imminent arrival of So You Think as well as the established names and there’s an embarrasment of riches covering the bases.

Time is a luxury to most but one that Coolmore can currently afford as evidenced by the patience and belief shown in’St Nicholas Abbey.

In days gone by, he could easily have been put out to grass with his reputation as a brilliant juvenile intact and a talent unfulfilled but they have persevered and the signs are positive that their patience will bear fruit this season.

The talk has been of the five year old starting to recapture the precocious brilliance of his youth and he has a brand to build up too; why not let him take his chance in, say, the Coral-Eclipse and the Arc?

There is a sense of unfinished business with the Montjeu colt and such a campaign would allow ‘the boys’ to tread carefully with Camelot.

Why not rewrite history and attempt to win the’St Leger this year and next season raise the bar?

Everyone now knows that Nijinsky was the last horse to claim all three prizes in 1970 but less has been made of the fact that not a single horse has tried since.

Only Nashwan and Sea The Stars have managed to win both the Guineas and the Derby in that time but only Shergar and Reference Point, of the Derby winners, have turned up at Doncaster.

To parrot an old argument, is the Triple Crown dead or merely resting? Will Camelot be able to wake it up?

It’s rich history may provide a beautiful plumage but does that enter into it?

Triple Crown fever is alive and well in the United States with I’ll Have Another bidding to become the first to claim that prize since Affirmed in 1978.

The time between Triple Crown winners is comparable but in the States there have been 11 attempts to claim, what is still, one of the most sought after prizes in racing.

The Triple Crown also retains its status in Japan where Orfevre became the seventh and latest to claim the title in 2011.

Satsuki Sho winner, Gold Ship, could only finish fifth in the Derby behind Deep Brillante but the winner’s success was a reminder of the continuing relevance of the title as he became another Grade One winning son of 2005 Triple Crown winner Deep Impact.

The influence of the brilliant son of Sunday Silence – who is, coincidentally, from the same family as Nashwan – is starting to be felt outside Japan too with Beauty Parlour’s victory in this year’s Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) a first top-level European success.

The Japanese Triple Crown was mirrored on its British counterpart and retains its importance but the times in Britain have changed, yet we remain hamstrung by history.

The drums have been banging all season with thoughts of moving the Classics back by a couple of weeks and talk of change is rife although there was much nashing of teeth when change was introduced last year in the form of Champions’ Day.

It may not have been perfect but it worked and, perhaps, the 10 furlong Champion Stakes would be a more fitting final leg to the Triple Crown in this day and age – older horses, geldings and all – as the season’s narrative is sought.

If it doesn’t work the clock can always be turned back; there should be no need to fear change or to fear the failure of change in the short-term but it is not by accident that there has been no Triple Crown challenger in over 40 years and there is no point in pining for it.

It would be fantastic to see Camelot reprise the former glories of the challenge but, even if he does, this is no more than a doffing of a cap to history.

View the original article over at Sporting Life

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