Camelot gave trainer Aidan O’Brien his sixth success in the G1 English 2000 Guineas with a narrow victory over Gallic raider French Fifteen on Saturday.
Camelot (3c Montjeu – Tarfah by Kingmambo) had signed off his juvenile season with a G1 victory in the Racing Post Trophy and he started a short-priced favourite back at Newmarket for the first classic of the year.
“We knew there was a lot against Camelot statistically but we also think he’s very special,” O’Brien said. “A mile was on the short side at this point although he does possess class and speed.”
O’Brien opened his 2000 Guineas account with King of Kings in 1998 and followed up with Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Footstepsinthesand (2005), George Washington (2006), Henrythenavigator (2008) and Camelot.
The 2012 Guineas field split into three groups on ground labelled good to soft. Ballydoyle apprentice Joseph O’Brien reserved the Montjeu colt at the rear of the main group on the grandstand side before weaving his way through traffic to score by a neck.
Camelot was the highest priced yearling by Montjeu in 2010 making 525,000gns at the Tattersalls October yearling sale. His dam Tarfah won a G3 at Newmarket and Listed events at Ascot and Kempton.
He broke his maiden on debut at Leopardstown last July but was not seen again until dismissing the Racing Post Trophy field in October. Bookmakers have installed him a $2.20 favourite to complete the English 2000 Guineas – English Derby double at Epsom Downs on June 3.
His sire Montjeu has sired three English Derby winners – Motivator (2005), Authorized (2007) and Pour Moi (2011). He died at Coolmore Stud in March.
Montjeu colt wins the G1 English 2000 Guineas