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Camelot continued the O'Brien domination of the Englich Classics in 2012

Bloodstock Bites

Thu, 07 June 2012

It was a busy week for Classics across Europe, but come Saturday all eyes were on Epsom, as the racing fraternity waited to see if Camelot could confirm his Guineas promise, and become the legend his name suggests...

  • As if further proof were needed to affirm Montjeu one of the best stallions in our lifetime, on Saturday the late sire secured back to back in wins the Epsom Derby, a fourth overall. Following on from an outstanding performance by Pour Moi last year, long-time favourite Camelot rewarded his connections and backers with the performance all had hoped for, picking off his rivals with ease before going on to win by five lengths. In doing so, the colt joins an elite band of horses to have completed the Guineas/Derby double; Sea The Stars of course added the two to his CV during the memorable 2009 season, but before that it had been Nashwan in 1989 who last achieved the feat. It was also the first time in the race’s history that a father/son trainer and rider team have won the race, giving Aidan and Joseph O’Brien yet more cause for celebration.

The winner, who is reminiscent of his sire in both looks and ability, remains unbeaten on all four starts, three of which have been Group 1 events; with total winnings of over £1.1m, the colt has certainly proven worth the 525,000 guineas paid for him two years ago at Tattersalls Book One sale.

  • Earlier in the day the legacy of Montjeu had again been carried into the winners’ enclosure after his son, and one time Derby favourite, St Nicholas Abbey secured a second straight win in the Coronation Cup, leaving Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux in second.
  • Montjeu’s stablemate and current Champion sire Galileo was not left out of the Classic proceedings however, as 24 hours earlier the dual Derby winner’s daughter Was defied her 20/1 odds to land the fillies’ Classic, the Oaks, on just her third start. The win is a first for Galileo, who has no shortage top-flight progeny, leaving just the 1,000 Guineas missing from his tally of British Classic titles.

Bred by Lodge Park Stud, Was descends from an illustrious family which includes the 2008 Derby hero New Approach, also by Galileo; it’s no surprise therefore that when passing under the hammer during Tattersalls Book One back in 2010, Demi O’Byrne had to bid 1.2m guineas to secure the filly. 

  • Another somewhat surprising result transpired in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly on Sunday as Saonois posted a three-quarter length victory over Saint Baudolino, with the joint favourites Imperial Monarch and French Fifteen eighth and tenth respectively. Sent off 25/1 in the race, generally regarded as the French Derby despite now being run over the shorter trip of 1m2½f, in winning Saonois provided his sire Chichicastenango with a second victory, the first provided by his highest rated runner Vision d’Etat, who went on to post a further three Group 1 wins, including at Royal Ascot in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Sadly for breeders, the Japan-based stallion died early in the year due to complications from colic surgery, making Sunday’s win all the more poignant. 
  • Earlier in the week one of the most promising young sires of the moment, Dutch Art, was given a first Classic win by his Dewhurst-winning son Caspar Netscher, who atoned for his disappointing run at Newmarket earlier in the month when winning the Group 2 German 2,000 Guineas for Nottinghamshire-based trainer Alan McCabe. A top-class juvenile himself, Dutch Art’s penchant for sprinting meant just one Classic foray, finishing a more than respectable third of 24 behind Cockney Rebel in the 2,000 Guineas on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile. Having enjoyed an outstanding start to his second career last year thanks to the likes of Monday’s winner, Miss Work Of Art and Slade Power, the Cheveley Park resident continues to go from strength to strength in his new role.
  • The Brits claimed a second German Classic on Sunday as Ralph Beckett and Jim Crowley teamed up to win the Group 2 1,000 Guineas with Electrelane. The daughter of Dubawi had only one win under her belt going into the race, her maiden, but finished a close second in a Listed  event behind Laugh Out Loud, who the same day over in France won the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham. Her sire continues to scale the heights of success in his stud career, Monterosso adding the Dubai World Cup to the sire’s tally earlier in the year alongside Makfi’s 2010 2,000 Guineas win and a Queen Elizabeth II Stakes title courtesy of Poet’s Voice to name but a few.
  • Godolphin’s outstanding sprinter Sepoy (Elusive Quality) is due to stand at Darley following his final start later this year in the July Cup. Based in Australia until moving to Newmarket under the watchful eye of Mahmood Al Zarooni earlier this year, the four-time Group 1 winner will also begin his new career Down Under, where his sprinting credentials and quality pedigree look sure to prove popular with breeders.
  • Another Australian resident, dual Group 1-winning mare Melito, was in the news this week after being sold for A$1.65m at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on Monday. With four different parties interested in the mare the stakes were high, until Coolmore’s Tom Magnier secured the daughter of Redoute’s Choice, who was sold in foal to another top sire, Encosta De Lago. Magnier was responsible for four of the six tops lots during the session, which enjoyed a rise in average but saw a disappointing clearance rate.