Stylish Camelot back in business at the Curragh
AIDAN O'Brien declared himself delighted after seeing his Classic winner Camelot make a perfectly satisfactory return to action in the High Chaparral European Breeders Fund Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
The son of Montjeu appeared destined for greatness after winning both the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and completing the English-Irish Derby double in the first half of last season, but he was narrowly denied Triple Crown glory in the St Leger.
He failed to run up to expectations on his final three-year-old start in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and was subsequently found to be suffering from colic, but was still the red-hot 1-3 favourite to take this Group Three prize on his eagerly-awaited comeback.
The presence of the Jim Bolger-trained Parish Hall added spice to the contest and Camelot was settled last of the five runners in the early stages before moving up menacingly rounding the home turn.
Joseph O'Brien had to shake up his mount, but did not resort to his whip, and Camelot quickened smartly to beat his pacesetting stable companion Triumphant by a length and three-quarters.
Parish Hall was slightly disappointing in third.
O'Brien senior said: "I'm delighted with that.
"He had big colic surgery in the winter and you never really know what is going to happen, but he has all his class and speed still so it's great.
"It was major open surgery, and after the surgery is a massive time. He went to Coolmore and was not with us for months.
"I was surprised at the shape he was in when he came back - that surgery is massive and we are lucky to have him.
"You take one race at a time, but the plan was always to start here, come back here for the Tattersalls Gold Cup (May 26) and then go for the Prince of Wales's Stakes (at Royal Ascot).
"He has a lot of speed - I know he got a mile and a half last year but you saw the speed he has today, he has a lot of pace.
"Joseph said fitness-wise he was around 70 per cent today."