/ Racing

Camelot claims opening Classic for Ballydoyle

Updated: Saturday, 05 May 2012 23:45 | Comments

Camelot just got up to beat French Fifteen over the Rowley Mile
Camelot just got up to beat French Fifteen over the Rowley Mile

Camelot lived up to the hype as he sliced through the field to maintain his 100% record with a hard-fought victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Ante-post favourite since his brilliant win in the Racing Post Trophy, the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt was sent off the 15-8f under Joseph O'Brien for the first Classic of the season.

The field broke into three groups from the stalls, with Abtaal prominent on the far side, Caspar Netscher showing up well in the centre and Redact and Trumpet Major leading the horses on the stands side.

Caspar Netscher and Trumpet Major set sail for home two furlongs out, but could not sustain the gallop.

Settled in rear through the early stages, Camelot and the ice-cool O'Brien junior managed to weave their way through the pack on the near side and were always just getting there to beat French Fifteen by a neck.

Hermival, on the far side of the course, was two and a quarter lengths away in third.

O'Brien senior, winning the 2000 Guineas for a sixth time, said: "It's one of those unbelievable days.

"We knew from the statistics that Camelot had a lot against him, we knew he had a lot to overcome but we always thought he was very special.

"I was worried about the race and I'm glad I didn't say anything to Joseph. I couldn't believe this would really happen.

Camelot shortened to odds-on for the Investec Derby on June 2, with BetVictor cutting him to 4-5 favourite from 2-1. However, Coral have him at odds against for the premier Classic, going 6-4 from 2s.

Ladbrokes, meanwhile, make the son of Montjeu just 3-1 to emulate the exploits of the legendary Nijinsky in 1970 and win the Triple Crown of Guineas, Derby and St Leger.

On future plans, O'Brien said: "It's like it always is. We will go home and the lads (owners) will talk about it and make a decision.

"We have lots to look forward to and we'll take it one race at a time. You would imagine looking at him (that) the Derby would be a very suitable race for him.

"We will all get round the table and talk about it early next week. I imagine the Derby would be the race."

Joseph O'Brien, 18, said: "He has a lot of class and speed, I always felt I was getting there. He got a bit tired in the last 100 yards on his first run (of the season) but hopefully he will come on for it.

"I didn't get the best run through, I was a long way back but he was very relaxed and will be much better going a bit further.

"He quickened up well. It was sticky old ground and he wasn't in love with it. He has a good attitude, he has a nice relaxed mind and you'd like to think he'd get a bit further.

"I thought most of the good horses were drawn to my inside, a lot of the fancied ones, the majority anyway.

"We all discussed it and decided to let him relax and take it from there. He picked up very well from the two down to the furlong marker - he's a very good horse.

"To win a British Classic, especially the 2000 Guineas here on Camelot, is very special and a big thanks to everyone involved for giving me the opportunity."

Nicolas Clement, trainer of French Fifteen, said: "I'm delighted with that and the winner was exceptional.

"It's possible we could go for the French Derby or St James's Palace next."

Mikel Delzangles was thrilled with the effort of Hermival, as French-trained horses took the minor honours.

Delzangles said: "It's a pity he was on his own on that (far) side and he was in front very early.

"I can't complain, he ran a great race and the two in front of him are definitely good horses.

"It was only his third ever run so I hope he can improve. He's in the Irish Guineas and we will see about that."

Richard Hannon said of fourth-placed Trumpet Major: "Richard (Hughes) said the ground got him, he's run a good race but when he got into the dip he just got stuck in it - three out Richard said he thought he would win and I thought so too.

"I don't think I would run him on ground like that again and we will probably go to Ascot, which gives us six weeks for the St James's Palace but the ground would need to be right for him."
Hannon also saddled the fifth, Coup De Ville.

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