And so it is the day of the St Leger. I go up to the mare. I say: ‘Today’s the day your grandfather won the Triple Crown, forty-two years ago.’ She nods her head, and snorts, aristocratically.
I have not, so far, fallen in love with Camelot as I have with other horses. I admire him, sincerely and discreetly, from a distance. He does not make me shout and cry, like Frankel does. I have no idea why this is. Some weird subconscious freak in my nature, I suppose.
After all, he is a really, really good horse. He has never been beaten. He has pulled it out of the bag on ground he hates, and skated home in glory when he gets the good going.
Today, I decide, consciously, to love him. How can one not love that much greatness? No one has won the Triple Crown since Red’s glorious grandsire, Nijinksy, strolled past the post, smooth as silk, on a misty day in 1970. I was three. I don’t remember it, but we must have watched it on the television. My father was always putting the house on Nijinsky.
It is so rare to win in one season over a mile, a mile and a half, and a mile and three quarters that, since 1809, only fifteen horses have done it. It would be one for the history books. It would be a great big yell of joy for Ireland, who needs a bit of cheering up after the economic crash.
In twelve minutes, Camelot shall go into the unknown, two furlongs farther than he has ever tried. I shall shout for him with all my heart.
Picture by the always excellent Alan Crowhurst.
And picture of his third cousin, by me:
Race report and Pigeon pictures later.