Camelot will be a hot favorite when bidding for a third straight classic in Saturday's Group 1 Irish Derby. Unbeaten in four career starts, the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt opened 2012 with a neck score in the Group 1 Two Thousand Guineas and exits a five-length romp in the Group 1 Derby.
During Royal Ascot, O'Brien gave an update on the colt, who will bid to become the first to complete this particular classic treble since Nijinsky II in 1970.
"We are taking it one race at a time with Camelot and we are not committing him to anything other than the Irish Derby at the moment," O'Brien said. "So far, everything is going well, and we'll try and keep dreaming."
The most notable absentee is Jim Bolger's Group 1 Dewhurst hero Parish Hall, who has still not appeared this season, and his trainer will have to rely on Light Heavy, winner of the Group 2 Derrinstown Trial and Group 3 Ballysax.
O'Brien can also choose from Learn, Astrology, Daddy Long Legs, Father of Science and Imperial Monarch while John Oxx has three of the remaining runners, headed by Sea the Stars' half-brother Born to Sea, who was fourth over a mile in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19. Akeed Mofeed, not seen since finishing second in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at two, and multiple Group 3-placed Call to Battle are his other two.
Dermot Weld's progressive and lightly-raced Speaking of Which completes an all-Irish field.
The Curragh's General Manager Paul Hensey is happy with the current conditions and forecast.
"We had a nice, dry day (Sunday) and again today, and I walked the course this morning and was pleasantly surprised how well the track has taken all the rain we've had recently," Hensey explained. "It's yielding-to-soft at the moment, but I'd expect it to have dried to yielding by the end of the day.
"We'll be watching the forecast closely for the end of the week. We might have light showers on Wednesday, but the key day is Thursday when there is a band of rain moving across and we'll have to see if we get it. The rest of the forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday then looks good."
The Irish Derby, which will be held over 1 1/2 miles at The Curragh, has attracted 11 runners at Monday's six-day stage. It will be held in the evening for the first time this year.
"We did extensive promotion on pre-sales and corporate hospitality sold out a month ago, so much so that we created some extra facilities," Hensey spoke of changing the running time to evening. "So it's very positive from that end of things and advanced ticket sales are well up, but we won't know how we do in terms of crowd until the day itself."
Other highlights on the Curragh card are the Group 2 Railway Stakes at six furlongs and the Group 3 Sapphire Stakes at five furlongs.