Montjeu colt Camelot (2c Montjeu-Tarfah, by Kingmambo) is a red-hot favourite for next year’s Derby after cantering away with the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained two-year-old has long had a big home reputation and had run away with a Leopardstown maiden in July when odds-on favourite on his only previous start.
He was a well-backed favourite at Doncaster as he lined up against some more battle-hardened rivals and jockey Joseph O’Brien barely moved a muscle as he cruised to a two and a quarter length victory from Zip Top. He is now 3/1 favourite to give Montjeu a fourth Derby winner in eight years at Epsom next June.
“He never really came off the bridle,” said the winning rider. “I thought I was on the best horse going into the race and he’s very smart. He was a bit fresh in the first furlong but he hadn’t run for a while.”
Aidan O’Brien told Press Association Sport: “The data we were getting from him at home was showing up as something out of the ordinary. Although you are only reading that stuff, he still had to come here today and prove it.
“When the lads saw him at the sales they started thinking he might be something we hadn’t seen before and he came to hand so quickly, the only worry was the trainer might run him too often and destroy him!
“Joseph said he never had to get him near to top gear. He’s a super-quick thinker with a lovely temperament and he’s a joy to have anything to do with.”
Camelot, out of the G3 Dahlia Stakes winner Tarfah, was bred by Sheikh Abdulla bin Isa Al-Khalifa and made 525,000gns as a yearling at Tattersalls when sold by Highclere Stud last year.
He is the fourth son of Montjeu to win the G1 Racing Post Trophy and two of those previous Doncaster scorers, Authorized and Motivator, went on to glory in the G1 Derby at Epsom.
Camelot was scoring six days after Montjeu had a G1 double at Woodbine when Sarah Lynx (4m Montjeu-Steel Princess, by Danehill) won the G1 Canadian International and Miss Keller (5m Montjeu-Ingozi, by Warning) took the G1 E.P Taylor Stakes.