Camelot proves himself all-time great in Derby

Camelot winning the Derby

Camelot (3c Montjeu-Tarfah, by Kingmambo) confirmed himself one of the greatest performers of recent times when becoming Montjeu’s fourth Epsom Derby winner in the past eight years on Saturday.

The unbeaten colt became only the eighth 2,000 Guineas winner since the Second World War to go on and win the Derby, which he did with a lightning turn of foot.

Jockey Joseph O’Brien was still towards the back rounding Tattenham Corner but made stealthy headway down the outside of the field to go away and oblige as the 8/13 favourite by five lengths.

Camelot is trained by his father, Aidan, and the pair become the first jockey-trainer partnership to land the Investec Derby.

“He is a very, very good horse and did well to win today as he was green coming down the hill,” said the rider. “That was his first time coming down a hill and round those bends so he was green and backing off a bit, so he will have learned a lot from today and he quickened up well.

“When you are on a short-priced favourite for the Derby there is always pressure but the thing was to get him to relax and get him in to a rhythm.”

Aidan O’Brien added: “We were afraid even to dream. No word I can say can describe this and there was no dream big enough.

“I had an idea of what he (Joseph) was going to do in the race. We have a fair idea of his body language in a race and he looked happy all the way through.”

Derrick Smith, whose purple and white colours were carried by Camelot, was celebrating the 100th Group One winner in which he had been involved.

“It’s a great race in which to do that,” said Smith. “The horse went to sleep in the early part of the race and he was going pretty well around Tattenham Corner. I was pretty confident three out, he had a fair bit of ground to make up but when you see what he does at home that wasn’t going to be a problem. He’s got speed, stamina and a great physique – he’s just the real deal.

“I was involved in the bookmaking business so obviously I knew favourites get beaten, but I was very confident. The nearer we got to the race, the more certain I was that we would win.”

Camelot, who follows Pour Moi (2011), Authorized (2007) and Motivator (2005) in winning the Derby for the much-missed Montjeu, was bred by Sheikh Abdulla bin Isa Al-Khalifa at Highclere Stud and was sold for 525,000gns as a yearling at Tattersalls.

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