Camelot kept his perfect record intact and notched his third classic of the season when he powered to a two-length victory in the $1,614,500 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) at the Curragh June 30.
The 3-year-old son of Montjeu, winner of the Investec Derby (Eng-I) earlier in the month, completed a Derby double with his triumph at the Curragh. The talented colt also provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with his seventh consecutive win in the race and his 10th overall.
A compact field of five went to the post in the Irish Derby after Imperial Monarch and Speaking of Which were withdrawn due to the course conditions, which were far from ideal due to the heavy rain that had plagued the area for the past week. As a result, both O’Brien and trainer John Oxx had two runners in the race, with Jim Bolger sending out the fifth entrant.
At the start it was Astrology , stablemate to Camelot and third in the Investec Derby, who went to the front to set the pace. He was tracked by Akeed Mofeed and Light Heavy, with Joseph O’Brien settling Camelot in fourth. Born To Sea, a half-brother to Sea The Stars , raced at the rear of the small field under jockey Johnny Murtagh.
The order remained the same for much of the race, as Astrology galloped along on the front end, opening up a six or seven-length lead on the rest of the field. As the field swept through the turn and entered the home straight, Akeed Mofeed overtook the fading Astrology and moved into the lead.
O’Brien angled Camelot off the rail and into the clear on the outside, and the pair quickly charged past Light Heavy and Akeed Mofeed to take command.
Murtagh also had Born To Sea in a drive, and the pair closed in on Camelot with two furlongs left. Born To Sea got to within a length of Camelot as the heavy favorite began to drift to his left through the final furlong. O’Brien got the colt straightened though, and the duo pulled away from Born To Sea to win convincingly.
Born To Sea was a clear second, with Light Heavy another nine lengths back in third. Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:43.96 over the soft to heavy ground.
After the race Aidan O’Brien told the press, “We were very worried about the ground for Camelot. At home he doesn’t even walk on that ground. He was tested in every way today so I can’t tell you how delighted we are. It was an incredible performance.”
“He’s by far the best we’ve had,” O'Brien added.
Said the younger O’Brien: “He hated the ground all the way and I was worried turning in that he was struggling. He has a big heart.”
As to whether or not Camelot will go for the English Triple Crown and contest the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) in September, co-owner John Magnier said, “He was always going to have a rest after today, and I know Derrick (Smith) and Michael (Tabor)’s dream is to have a Triple Crown winner.”
“We will, if all goes well, try and make him a Triple Crown winner.”
There has not been a Triple Crown winner in England since Nijinsky II in 1970.
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).