14th Stakes-Winner for Epsom Derby Winner Camelot
A truly run race set up the perfect conditions for progressive three-year-old Lord Arthur (3g Camelot x Imposingly, by Zabeel) who stormed to victory in the Group II Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie in New Zealand on Saturday.
A half-brother to dual New Zealand Horse of the Year, Bonneval, he is prepared by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.
Touted as a staying prospect earlier in the season, Lord Arthur had been thereabouts in his recent starts that included an eye-catching run for sixth in the Group III Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni.
Allowed to settle well back in a strung-out field which was led at a true pace by fellow Cambridge raider, Gehrig, Lord Arthur and rider Jake Bayliss lobbed along quietly before making their run at the 600m.
Promising filly Intrigue struck the front with 250m to run but just as she was being hailed the winner, Bayliss brought Lord Arthur down the outside to swamp her and win by a length and a half.
“That was very impressive,” Murray Baker said.
“He’s a half to Bonneval who has been a little bit immature. We’ve spaced his races and given him plenty of time.
“I gave him a stayer’s show today with plenty of pace on. He showed good acceleration.”
Baker had the inkling his charge was starting to round into form after strengthening up in recent weeks.
“He’s been a bit weak, but he’s started to get it together in the last month or so,” he said.
“There is a possibility he could go on to Brisbane from here.”
Bayliss was all smiles after picking up the ride on Lord Arthur on race morning.
“I came in with a fair bit of confidence after picking the ride up this morning,” he said.
“There was good speed on throughout the whole race and he was travelling so well coming to the corner.
“He gave me a good turn of foot although when we got to the front, he started to do a little bit wrong.
“In twelve months-time he is going to be a key stayer for the cup races.”
Passed in a Karaka, Lord Arthur is the fifth stakes-winner left by remarkable producer Imposingly, whose offspring include champion Bonneval, as well as Group III winners Imposing Lass, Lady Cumquat and Full of Spirit. By champion sire Zabeel, Imposingly is a three-quarter sister-in-blood to Group I stars Champagne and St Reims and has the perfect record of eight foals to race all winners.
She is now in foal to Pierro.
The 14th stakes-winner worldwide for Camelot, Lord Arthur is the first Southern Hemisphere bred stakes-winner for Montjeu’s champion son, who shuttled to Coolmore Australia for one season.