The hot favourite Camelot took the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket today from two French-trained horses, French Fifteen and Hermival.
Camelot, owned by the Irish-based Coolmore operation which stood his sire Montjeu at stud until his recently untimely death at the age of 16, only beat French Fifteen by a neck.
But the Aidan O’Brien-trained bay’s pedigree and looks – he is a big, handsome, rangy colt – suggest he will be better over further than the mile of the 2000 Guineas, and Camelot is now 5-4 favourite to win the Derby at Epsom in a month’s time. The 2000 Guineas was his first run since his Group One Racing Post Trophy victory last autumn.
The 18-runner Guineas field split into three groups after leaving the stalls. Camelot was held up in mid-field in the stands-side bunch and when the front-runners started to struggle up the hill on the soft ground, Camelot swooped.
The 15-8 favourite passed the Nicolas Clement-trained French Fifteen in sight of the post and won by a neck. They were two lengths ahead of Hermival, trained by Mikael Delzangles, who won the 2000 Guineas two years ago with Makfi.
The first British-trained horse home was Trumpet Major, fourth for Richard Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes.
It was a sixth 2000 Guineas winner for trainer Aidan O’Brien and a first for his son Joseph, 18, who rode Camelot.
O’Brien snr 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.
“You would imagine looking at him that the Derby would be a very suitable race for him.”
Joseph O’Brien said: “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.”