Joseph O'Brien collected his first classic when piloting Camelot to success in the 2000 Guineas
Wed, 09 May 2012
The domestic Classic season swung into action this week, and whilst the weather failed to warm up racegoers, some hot performances on the track certainly helped.
The first domestic Classic of the season immediately sparked talk of a potential Triple Crown winner as Aidan O’Brien succeeded on his quest for a sixth 2,000 Guineas winner with the outstanding Camelot on Saturday. A son of the late Montjeu, Camelot still had plenty to do after being held up for much of the race, but in similar fashion to his blistering Racing Post Trophy win last season, bore down on his rivals to lead in the final furlong and hold on by a neck from French Fifteen.Already quoted odds-on by some for the Derby, a tilt at the St Leger has not been ruled out by his trainer, if successful in the former. The domestic Triple Crown has not been won since the great Nijinsky completed the feat in 1970, alongside wins in the Irish Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Across the pond the first leg of the American Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, was held on Saturday. O’Brien was unable to make it a Classic three-timer however as his contender, Daddy Long Legs, finished last of the 20 runners. The winning ride, played out in a similar fashion to that of Camelot’s, saw I’ll Have Another, travelling handily throughout under Mario Gutierrez, overturn the favourite Bodemeister in the final half-furlong, the runner-up having set a sizzling pace throughout. I’ll Have Another, by Grade 1 Travers Stakes winner Flower Alley, was sold for just $11,000 at Keeneland’s September Sale, before being bought as a juvenile for $35,000 from an Ocala Horses-in-Training Sale.
There was sad news during the week as it was announced 17-time winner Florida Pearl was put down following illness. The eight-time Grade 1 hero retired after his fourth and final Irish Hennessy win in 2004 for trainer Willie Mullins and owner Violet O’Leary, spending the rest of his days at the Irish National Stud.
Bearstone Stud also suffered the loss of the stallion to put them on the map, Mind Games. Though retired from active duty, the former Champion Sprinter provided the stud with many successes, most notably last year’s Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye winner Tangerine Trees.
The Breeze-Up season continued last week with the return of Tattersall’s Guineas sale, absent from last year’s calendar. The event boasted an added Horses-in-Training section, which brought in 261,400gns from 26 lots sold, fetching an average of 10,054gns with the median hitting 3,500gns. Combined with the more established Breeze-Up section, from which 78 of the 98 offered were sold, the combined figures earned an aggregate of 2,414,650gns, with the 23,218gns average and 15,500gns median dipping from the 27,606gns and 21,000gns respectively earned by the breezers alone. A week on from breaking the record price for a DBS Breezer up at Doncaster, David Redvers was again making headlines when bidding for the most expensive lot of the session. His single bid of 115,000gns secured the sales-topping colt, whose sire Shamardal was also responsible for the top two lots at the venue’s Craven Breeze-Up sale a fortnight earlier.