The much-missed Montjeu has three Epsom Derby winners to his name and he added a 2,000 Guineas to his CV when the brilliant Camelot (3c Montjeu-Tarfah, by Kingmambo) fought off some classy rivals to win the Classic at Newmarket on Saturday.
Camelot was the outstanding juvenile of last season after his fantastic victory in the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and he became only the second winner of that mile juvenile contest to follow up in the 2,000 Guineas when scoring under trainer Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph.
“It’s one of those unbelievable days,” said trainer Aidan O’Brien. “We knew the statistics had a lot against Camelot but we always thought that he was very special. We knew that we had a lot to overcome – he’s out of a Kingmambo mare out of a Danehill mare – and he has strong crosses of both of those stallions as well as Montjeu, so that is why we were very worried about the ground.
“We walked the course and we thought that it was plenty soft enough for him. I kind of had half an idea of what Joseph was going to do on him in the race and I was worried about riding a horse for such pace in that kind of ground.
“Joseph said to me that he would be closer to last than closer to first at halfway – I am glad I bit my tongue!
” We are delighted for everyone, those who bred him and those who look after him. We are very lucky to have such a horse and so incredibly lucky to have so many special people to look after him and bring him on.”
Camelot was bred by Sheikh Abdulla bin Isa Al-Khalifa and born and raised at John and Lady Carolyn Warren’s Highclere Stud. He realised 525,000gns as a yearling at Tattersalls and is now Evens favourite to give Montjeu a fourth Derby success in eight years.
“We will go home, the lads will discuss it amongst themselves and then there will be a decision where we go next,” added O’Brien. “Obviously, the Derby would be something to really look forward too but we will take it one race at a time and we will discuss. You would imagine by looking at him that the Derby would be a very suitable race for him.”
Joseph O’Brien added: “He has a lot of class and a lot of speed. I was very happy throughout the race – he was nice and relaxed – and I always felt like I was getting there. He might have got a bit tired in the last 100 yards but it was his first run of the season and hopefully he can come on for it. I didn’t get the best run through. I was a long way back but I was very relaxed. He will be a lot better horse going a bit further.”