Was there ever a more appropriate name for the winner of this particular season’s Derby, but Camelot? Was there ever a boy more in tune with his mount? From the moment he was lifted to the saddle Joseph O’Brien quietly took command of the race before it had begun, directing Camelot to the far rails, away from distractions, like any keyed up athlete, needing calm concentration. Watching his controlled canter to the start, one knew this was a master at work, deeply sensitive to the moment, and the needs of his superlative horse. It reduced me to tears.
The romance of horse-racing lies in many things, the poetic pictures of Degas, the traditions of the colours, and the co-ordination of stable boys, grooms, trainers and jockeys, but ultimately it is the celebration of the horse. The superlative aristocracy and beauty of the animal, that challenges all our human sense of superiority, by something aesthetic, intelligent, alive and peerless is what holds mankind in thrall, and so it should. No greater tribute to the Queen’s greatest love will be given for all the razzmatazz. That race will live with me forever, and that boy’s gentle modesty.
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