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Classic weekend for a 'privileged' Ballydoyle master

Even by Aidan O'Brien's standards, the master of Ballydoyle can have had few better weekends than this.

O'Brien continues to create little pieces of history and landed both the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas in the same season for the second time in his career.

He last pulled the feat off seven years ago at Newmarket with Footstepsinthesand and Virginia Waters, and this time toasted the exploits of Camelot in the 2,000 Guineas and Homecoming Queen in the 1,000 Guineas 24 hours later. Camelot was already favourite for the Derby before making late headway to beat French Fifteen by a neck in the hands of the trainer's son, Joseph.

O'Brien Snr, winning the 2,000 Guineas for a sixth time, said: "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.

"We knew he was a very brilliant horse and that he had a lot of speed, but I was worried about the ground and Joseph said not to worry if, at halfway, he was closer to the back than the front.

"I can't tell you how grateful and privileged I feel that Joseph has been allowed to ride him."

O'Brien was back in the number-one spot after the 1,000 Guineas -- but not, as many expected, with hot favourite Maybe.

Ryan Moore was riding Homecoming Queen, with Joseph O'Brien aboard Maybe, and while the winner set off like a pacemaker on the 25/1 chance, she never saw another rival when winning by nine lengths.

When asked if Homecoming Queen was running as a pacemaker, O'Brien answered: "Absolutely not. She was there running on her merits.

"She's a tough, hardy filly with a real pedigree and has been progressive all the way.

"Perhaps we didn't expect her to win quite like she did, but it was not a great surprise she did win.

"Joseph said beforehand that she was the one he feared most.

"Ryan says she'll stay further. She has a lot of options, but the boys will talk about that later in the week.

"She can go to the Irish Guineas or she can go anywhere -- the Curragh, Ascot and Epsom are all in the mix. There are lot of options open to her now.

"She's a very progressive filly."

The fillies' Classic was marred, however, by an incident at the start which saw the Charlie Hills-trained Gray Pearl put down after having injured her back in the stalls.

Elsewhere over the weekend, Mayson laid claim to bigger sprinting prices by following up his victory at the Craven meeting in the Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes on Saturday.

The Duke Of York Stakes on the Knavesmire will be the next stop for Richard Fahey's improving type.

Al Kazeem may also have Group One aims after making a winning return in the Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes for Roger Charlton, while Noble Mission, full-brother to the brilliant Frankel, did his prospects for the Investec Derby no harm in the Qatar Racing Newmarket Stakes.

Yesterday's supplementary feature, the Qatar Bloodstock Dahlia Stakes, was won in good style by Izzi Top, who will now head to York later this month on top of her form.

Kailani will be supplemented for the Investec Oaks after a striking display in the Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes, while New Pearl created a pleasing impression on his racecourse debut in the Makfi Future Stars Maiden Stakes.

Not for the first time, though, the weekend belonged to Aidan O'Brien.


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