/ Racing

Camelot and Al Kazeem to clash at Curragh in Tattersalls Gold Cup

Updated: Friday, 24 May 2013 19:49 | Comments

Camelot was successful at the Curragh on his seasonal debut earlier this month
Camelot was successful at the Curragh on his seasonal debut earlier this month

Joseph O'Brien does not anticipate the small field posing any problems for Camelot in Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Only four go to post for the Group One event over 10 furlongs, a race O'Brien's father Aidan has won six times in the last eight years, including the last three renewals with Fame And Glory and Sou You Think (twice).

Camelot wrote his own name into Turf history last year by winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Derby and the Irish Derby and was only narrowly denied in the St Leger by Encke, preventing him from claiming the Triple Crown last won by Nijinsky in 1970.

He was found wanting in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe but was struck down with colic shortly after that race, only to make a full recovery.

All his old dash looked to be there when making a winning return to action in the Mooresbridge Stakes.

"He had a nice comeback run and did exactly what was hoped so we're looking forward to Sunday," said O'Brien jnr.

"The small field won't matter to him, it doesn't make a difference if they go quick or slow.

"If they go quick he can sit handy and if they go slow he's got that turn of foot.

"He stays the trip well enough and it will be decent ground so I'm looking forward to it as he's a real good ground horse."

Roger Charlton's Al Kazeem was an impressive winner of the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on his seasonal bow, returning from almost a year on the sidelines.

He will be having his first Group One outing.

O'Brien also fields Windsor Palace while Joanna Morgan's Negotiate makes a quick reappearance after finishing last in the Middleton Stakes at York last week.

Charlton knows the size of the task Al Kazeem faces but feels if he had not run, the race would effectively have been a non-event.

He said: "I've been hugely impressed by Camelot from the moment I saw him at Tattersalls Sales as a young horse and he's very talented. He'll be a hard nut to crack.

"We must have a good chance of getting in the money with just four runners, though.

"It would have been disappointing for racing if we hadn't turned up.

"Realistically Camelot has won five Group Ones and we are running in one for the first time so we have a bit to prove, but I think it's fair to say Al Kazeem has improved.

"He made a big quantum leap of improvement to win the Jockey Club Stakes last year and proved that he had maintained that improvement by winning at Sandown when my horses were not running particularly well.

"I think he will have come on from that race quite a lot and I've been pleased with his work.

"Having won a Group Two we need to aim at Group Ones now. It could be a muddle of a race with a small field and obviously Camelot has a good turn of foot, so it's a tough situation.

"The other thing not in our favour are the travel arrangements. With the wind as it is we now have to go via Holyhead and see if they will allow livestock to travel. It's not easy when the forecast is bad.

"He's in good shape, so we'll give it a go."

Live television coverage of the Guineas Festival from The Curragh from 14.00 on Saturday 25 May and 14:10 on Sunday 26 May on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Ireland only). Live radio coverage on Saturday Sport (15:00) and Sunday Sport (15:00) on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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