Camelot set to be evening star at Irish Derby

Camelot will start at long odds-on in a less than vintage renewal of the Irish Derby, staged this year on Saturday evening rather than its habitual Sunday slot in a bid to boost attendance.

The absence of any headline contenders from Britain or France is testimony to the soaring reputation Camelot has attained in his short racing life.

Aidan O'Brien's red hot favourite stretched his record to four wins from as many starts when coming home an eye catching winner of the Epsom Derby, that success achieved on the back of his English 2,000 Guineas triumph.

O'Brien's teenage son, Joseph, rides Camelot who if successful will become the 16th horse to complete the Epsom-Curragh Derby double.

Judging by the betting Camelot's biggest 'danger' is set to come from his Ballydoyle stablemate Imperial Monarch, eighth when favourite for the French Derby last time out.

O'Brien, who saddled the first three home 12 months ago in the race he has won nine times, is also represented by English Derby third Astrology, who last week paid an unsuccessful visit to Royal Ascot, taking fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes.

Jim Bolger fields Light Heavy, winner of his prep at Leopardstown, about whom the trainer told The Guardian this week: "I'm not saying that he will be able to beat Camelot but he'll certainly warm them all up a bit.

"We know that he stays well and he is a verry honest horse who will be up for a good scrap."

Dermot Weld's Speaking Of Which, Born to Sea, John Oxx's full brother to Sea The Stars who finished well behind Camelot in the Guineas, and Akeed Mofeed, complete the field.

While victory in Ireland's premier classic is a notable prize to add to his burgeoning cv a far more important date looms on the horizon for Camelot in the shape of the St Leger at Doncaster in September.

If Camelot succeeds in claiming the world's oldest classic run over one and three quarter miles he will become the first since Nijinsky - trained by O'Brien's namesake Vincent O'Brien - back in 1970 to lift the coveted Triple Crown of Guineas, Derby and St Leger.