Neither horse has had an easy season. Dual Derby winner of last year, Camelot had an operation for colic last October, and although he won on his return to action in May’s Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh, he’s since lost twice to Al Kazeem. A fortnight ago the trainer was optimistic of running in the Juddmonte International today, saying, “He's in good order. He's back after a break and he's starting to progress. York and Leopardstown would be the two main races that could be possible. The Juddmonte is a great race and Irish Champion is a great race but it will depend on how he comes along. Things are going well so far."Now, apparently, not well enough, despite a break of two months. Kingsbarns has not raced for much longer. Indeed, he’s yet to appear on a racetrack this season, after a foot infection forced him to miss ten days work and ruled him out of the 2,000 Guineas. He wasn’t ready in time for the Derby, and also missed out on running in his next planned target, the Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month.
O’Brien planned to give Kingsbarns a racecourse gallop after the Curragh card was completed, but drying ground meant that was cancelled. He’s clearly proving difficult to get race fit, although the trainer remains committed to a horse the had hoped would give him another shot at the Triple Crown. Instead, he’s increasingly looking to be a horse that might have been…. if only he got to the racecourse.
The latest projection is for them both to run next month, and both have a fist full of top race possibilities. O’Brien sounded unusually hesitant when he set out plans yesterday. He said, “We’re happy with how Camelot and Kingsbarns are progressing and it looks as if they will be ready to run early next month. They’re both entered for the Red Mills Irish Champion stakes at Leopardstown on September 7 and one of them could run there. However, Kingsbarns could go for one of the Arc trials at Longchamp instead.”
From what’s happened so far this season, I’d say don’t hold your breath on Kingsbarns appearing at all.