Saturday 17 March 2018

Camelot displays stuff of legends for O'Brien

Tom Peacock

Reputations are regularly shattered in Group Ones but Camelot's grew exponentially larger as Aidan O'Brien's latest sensation took Doncaster's Racing Post Trophy with consummate ease yesterday.

O'Brien was winning the British season's final top-level two-year-old race for the sixth time and such was the manner of this performance, Camelot was cut to as short as 3/1 for next year's Epsom Derby.

Ante-post punters must pay heed to the fate of St Nicholas Abbey, which shone at Town Moor on this day two years ago only to fail in the Classics, even if it should not deflect the impact of the outrageous promise of his stablemate.

The Montjeu colt made his only previous appearance 100 days earlier when beating a handful of ordinary rivals in a Leopardstown maiden. But O'Brien's admission that his feedback of Camelot's work on the gallops had been startling goes some way to explain why he was sent off the 10/11 favourite here. The trainer's son Joseph sat motionless at the back of the field, allowing his four rivals a scent of glory before letting Camelot stride past them without needing to apply any sort of pressure.

Connections of Zip Top and Fencing, second and third respectively and two and a quarter lengths behind, were left in no doubt they had bumped into a very smart horse.

"The data we were getting from him at home was showing up as something out of the ordinary," said Aidan O'Brien. "Although you are only reading that stuff, he still had to come here today and prove it.

"When the lads saw him at the sales they started thinking he might be something we hadn't seen before and he came to hand so quickly, the only worry was the trainer might run him too often and destroy him! Joseph said he never had to get him near to top gear.

"He's a super-quick thinker with a lovely temperament and he's a joy to have anything to do with."

O'Brien junior, riding his first Group One winner in Britain, said: "I thought I was on the best horse in the race and he never really came off the bridle. I think he's a very smart horse, he was a bit keen in the first furlong as he hadn't raced for a while, but he won very easily."

Frankie Dettori is set to miss the Saturday of next month's Breeders' Cup meeting after picking up a seven-day suspension for careless riding at Newbury.

The popular Italian was partnering Saeed bin Suroor's Willing Foe in the totescoop6 HBLB Handicap, where he was ruled to have hampered Right Step with a couple of furlongs to go. The latter's jockey, Harry Bentley, ended up on the floor but emerged from the incident unscathed.

Dettori, however, did not, with the stewards finding he had made a manoeuvre to his right when not sufficiently clear, and suspending him on November 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15, meaning he will miss the showpiece second day of the Churchill Downs fixture. Dettori had been rerouted to Newbury when Encke, his intended mount in the Racing Post Trophy, was a non-runner.

There was some joy for Dettori when Godolphin's Pimpernel did just what was expected of her when impressing in the totepool Stakes. The even-money favourite was pushed out hands and heels to score by a length and three-quarters.

Over jumps, meanwhile, red-hot favourite Master Minded trailed home a disappointing last of the three runners as Albertas Run claimed victory in the Betfred Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

Master Minded had been a comprehensive winner when the pair met in the Melling Chase at the Grand National meeting back in April, but 10lb better off at the weights, Jonjo O'Neill's charge readily turned the tables.

Master Minded travelled with his usual verve for a long way but was showing a tendency to hang to his right in the last mile, something that has been a problem in the past.

Albertas Run (5/2) led the trio into the straight and for a brief moment it appeared rank outsider Pure Faith could spring a major surprise. But Albertas Run got his measure after the final flight to land the Grade Two prize by a length, with Master Minded hugely disappointing and well beaten.

At home, the feature race at Galway, the Grade Three Faber Audiovisuals Ballybrit Novice Chase, went to the John Kiely trained Sweeps Hill which was ridden to victory by David Casey.

Regal D'Estruval (9/2) for double-seeking Jim Culloty and Tom Doyle attempted to make all and jumped the last in the lead. However, Sweeps Hill (4/1) hit the front a furlong out before going clear to score by a comfortable five and a half lengths.

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