Had Camelot turned out on Friday night, Dundalk Stadium would have been in the unique situation as playing host to two Derby winners, each of them belonging to different sports.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained thoroughbred was successful in the Epsom Derby last June and followed up by taking the Irish equivalent at The Curragh.
Camelot was kept in training as a four-year-old, and as he eyed the Breeders’ Cup meeting coming up in November, O’Brien considered Friday night’s Dowdallshill feature event, the Carlingford Stakes, for a prep race.
However, in the early part of the week it was announced that the horse that went so close to completing the Triple Crown in 2012 would be going to stud.
In Camelot’s absence, it was left to Slippery Robert to fly the Derby-winner flag, the one the locally-owned greyhound collected at Shelbourne Park last month. Connections - Jenkinstown-based owner, Larry Dunne, and Co Kildare trainer, Robert Gleeson, chief among them - were out in strength as their champion’s wonderful achievement was given due recognition by the stadium management. It’s just a pity the weather wasn’t a little kinder.
Slippery Robert, the first wholly-owned local winner of the country’s premier Classic – Blackrock’s Billy Marks had a sizeable share in Razldazl Billy’s 2006 success and Razldazl George’s five years later – and was fully deserving of the reception afforded him. He’s to be kept in training, likely to be next seen out at the big Night of the Stars meeting at Shelbourne Park on the first Saturday in December.
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