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Series stars to stud: Camelot

11 Dec 2013

In our penultimate Series star to stud feature, we focus on the 2012 QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby champion, Camelot.

Camelot heading to post before winning the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. Image copyright of Racingfotos.com

Enthusiastically glorified as a future champion as soon as he set his hooves in Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable, Camelot was always expected to deliver for his eager connections.

His owners, Coolmore, had held back the rights to use his name for ten years, hoping that the horse to eventually don the name of the Arthurian paradise was a superstar. He proved to be just that.

After winning the Racing Post Trophy impressively, the son of Montjeu entered the 2012 British Flat season with a weight of expectancy on his shoulders to perform.

In the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, jockey Joseph O’Brien produced a perfectly-timed ride to help Camelot claim his first Classic success, beating French Fifteen by a neck.

With one British Classic under the belt, and with a pedigree to suggest that he would relish running over further than a mile, the logical next step was a tilt at the Investec Derby.

Being sent off odds-on at Epsom’s famously difficult and undulating track, Camelot cruised to a five-length success to claim the British Flat season showpiece.

The victory meant that an historical bid to be the first horse since Nijinsky in 1970 to take the prestigious British Triple Crown was still on the cards.

A triumph in the Doncaster St Leger would seal his place in history alongside the Vincent O’Brien-trained legend, Gainsborough and Gay Crusader.

However, before running in Yorkshire, Camelot would head to The Curragh to tackle the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

In slightly more testing fashion, he defeated Born To Sea by two-lengths, registering his third Classic win of the campaign.

The victory for Camelot would maintain his unbeaten record on the track.

Though, that record would sadly go at Doncaster.

Heavily backed at odds-on to enter racing folklore, Camelot succumbed to the staying power of Godolphin’s Encke, who beat him by three quarters of a length.

The disappointment at Doncaster meant that the first British Triple Crown in over 40 years was not meant to be.

After a failed attempt in the 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to conclude 2012, Camelot would go on to win once more in his career, as a four-year-old, in the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes.

As of next season, Coolmore Stud, in Ireland, will be where he will stand as a stallion, along with the likes of Galileo, High Chaparral and new recruit St Nicholas Abbey.

Connections will be hoping he is as successful at stud as his multiple Group 1-producing father.