Nijinsky was the last horse to complete the colt’s Triple Crown in 1970 but Saxon Warrior is odds-on to win the Derby which is the second leg after winning the 2,000 Guineas. Nijinsky was trained by Vincent O’Brien and Saxon Warrior is under the care of Aidan O’Brien but the two trainers are not related. Saxon Warrior would have to add the St Leger to complete the treble and the horse has the scope to do just that. Oh So Sharp won the fillies’ version in 1985 but no horse has done it since.
The Triple Crown is such a rare feat because it presents three different demands. The 2,000 Guineas is run over the straight mile at Newmarket in May, the Derby is a 12 furlongs race around the undulating unique Epsom track and the St Leger is one mile and six furlongs in distance over a different type of course at Doncaster in September. So a horse must run over a range of distances at different times of the year on distinct courses. The Triple Crown is the purest test of a thoroughbred that few pass.
The 2,000 Guineas is often a good trial for the Derby. It is a Group 1 race with no quarter given and the best horse prevails. Saxon Warrior was not stopping at the line in this year’s race and the horse can get further. Stamina comes in to play in the straight at Epsom and the favourite can deliver in the Flat race that matters most. Last year O’Brien’s second string won the Derby but Saxon Warrior can win as his number one runner and Ryan Moore should get the ride.
The best form guide has turned out to be the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last October. Saxon Warrior outbattled Roaring Lion having been headed in the final furlong. Roaring Lion ran poorly in the Craven Stakes but finished fifth in the Guineas, over two lengths behind Saxon Warrior. The horse was then impressive in winning the Dante Stakes at York, the race that is a reliable guide to the Derby. Roaring Lion is the most likely beneficiary if Saxon Warrior underperforms.
Young Rascal is owned by someone who works for the main sponsor so the horse has to take his chance in the Derby. Young Rascal won the Chester Vase in May and that race is another significant trial. Shergar won both races in 1981 but then disappeared and Ruler Of The World did the same in 2013 but wasn’t subsequently kidnapped. Young Rascal takes good credentials in to the Derby and the horse would be an appropriate winner of the most prestigious Classic.
Ruler Of The World was running for the first time aged three in the Derby. It’s more typical for the winner to have raced earlier in the season and that is the case with Saxon Warrior who can win the Derby. All roads then lead to Doncaster in September for an attempt at the rare Triple Crown.