Magical Camelot Impressive in Investec Derby
by Mary Schweitzer
Date Posted: 6/2/2012 1:26:05 PM
Last Updated: 6/5/2012 3:38:30 PM

Camelot leaves the rest behind in the Investec Derby.
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Photo: Trevor Jones

Camelot kept his perfect record intact with a superb five-length victory in the $2,054,000 Investec Derby (Eng-I) at Epsom June 2.

The son of Montjeu, who was ridden by 19-year-old Joseph O’Brien for his father Aidan, remains undefeated in four career starts. The victory made them the first father and son combination to ever win the Derby.

Trainer O’Brien continues his stranglehold on the British classics, having swept all four spring classics this season. Camelot won the English Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) in his prior start May 5.

A field of just nine runners, the fewest since 1907, went to the post in the Derby, with Camelot made the heavy favorite. Second choice in the wagering went to Bonfire, winner of the Betfred Dante Stakes (Eng-II) in his last start.

At the start it was Camelot’s stablemate Astrology   that went to the lead and set the pace under Ryan Moore. He was followed closely by Thought Worthy under William Buick, with Rugged Cross and Bonfire, who had hopped in the air at the start, in third and fourth, respectively. O’Brien settled Camelot toward the rear of the field, content to make one run late in the race.

Astrology set a steady tempo through the early stages of the race. As the field rounded Tattenham Corner and entered the home straight, he spurted away from the field and began to open up his lead. O’Brien had Camelot in the clear out in the center of the course, however, and the pair closed resolutely on the front-runner.

Astrology still clung to a slight lead with a quarter mile remaining, but Camelot was in full flight to blow past his rival and take command with a furlong left to run.

The talented colt drew off under mild urging to win in superb style. Main Sequence made a late move to snatch second by a short head over Astrology, who in turn was six lengths clear of fourth-place finisher Thought Worthy.

Final time for the 12 furlongs was a quick 2:33.90, which was faster than his stablemate St Nicholas Abbey ran in winning the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup (Eng-I) over the same distance earlier on the card.

After the race Joseph O’Brien told reporters, “He didn’t handle the track so he did well to win today. He’s a very special horse and I’m fortunate to be on his back. I owe a big thanks to (owners) Mr. and Mrs. Magnier, Mr. and Mrs. Tabor, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and everyone involved around me.”

Derrick Smith, who owns the colt in partnership with Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier said, “This is the one everyone wants in racing and I could never have dreamed I would do it – it’s just unbelievable.”

“To win the Derby is a dream come true. What a horse!”

Camelot 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).

 



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