Aidan O’Brien’s Camelot lived up to all his pre-race hype with an easy 2 1/4-length victory in the $312,000 Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) at Doncaster Oct. 22.
A maiden winner at Leopardstown in his only previous start, the son of Montjeu was nonetheless sent off as the even-money favorite in the field of five. Second choice in the wagering was the John Gosden-trained Fencing, a son of Street Cry who had captured the listed Denford Stud Stakes in August. Also getting some attention was Zip Top, a stakes-placed son of Smart Strike trained by Jim Bolger.
Camelot was settled at the rear of the field by Joseph O’Brien as stablemate Learn was sent to the front to set the pace. Talwar tracked closely from second, with Zip Top racing in third. Jockey William Buick settled Fencing toward the rear of the field along with Camelot through the early stages of the race.
With three furlongs to go the pace began to quicken noticeably, with Zip Top making a move to the lead when Learn began to fade. Fencing launched his bid on the outside to join Zip Top as the pair battled for the lead a quarter-mile from the wire.
Camelot was still traveling strongly, weaving between horses as O’Brien sat motionless aboard him. The colt progressed easily along the stands-side rail, gliding past Zip Top to take the lead. The result was settled in a matter of strides as Camelot drew off through the final furlong to win impressively.
Zip Top gamely held off Fencing to take second by a neck. The final time for the eight furlongs was 1:38.58 over a good turf course.
Aidan O’Brien, who trains Camelot for owners Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Susan Magnier, told reporters after the race, “He’s looked extraordinary all the way along and he’s unbelievable at home. I’m over the moon, and we’re looking forward to next year already.”
It was the first group I win in England for jockey Joseph O’Brien, who captured his first classic win earlier this year when he rode Roderic O'Connor to victory in the Abu Dhabi Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) in May.
Camelot will now be put up for the year and will be pointed to the Investec Derby (Eng-I), for which bookmakers have already made him the early 3-1 favorite.
The winner was bred in England by Sheikh Abdulla bin Isa Al-Khalifa. He is the second foal out of Tarfah, a daughter of Kingmambo who captured the 2005 Dahlia Stakes (Eng-III).