Stylish start for Camelot
Aidan O'Brien declared himself delighted after seeing his triple Classic winner Camelot make a perfectly satisfactory return to action in the High Chaparral EBF Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
Winner of the 2000 Guineas and the English and Irish Derbys during a spectacular three-year-old campaign, he later recovered from colic, and was sent off the red-hot 1-3 favourite to take this Group Three prize on his comeback. Jim Bolger's 2011 Dewhurst winner Parish Hall was expected to be the main danger.
Camelot was settled last of the five runners, but Joseph O'Brien eased him closer once they straightened up for home and it was clear he was travelling far easier than his rivals. He was shaken up and found a nice turn of foot to overhaul his pacemaker Triumphant by a length and three-quarters, with Parish Hall slightly disappointing in third.
O'Brien snr 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."
The result completed a double for the Ballydoyle team after Michaelmas justified odds-on favouritism with a workmanlike victory in the Alfred Nobel EBF Race.
Narrowly beaten on his debut at Leopardstown last month, the 2-9 favourite was sent straight to the front and while he had to be kept up to his work in the last of the five furlongs, he was good value for his winning margin of three-quarters of a length over Candy Apples, with The Organ Grinder similarly promising in third.
O'Brien snr said: "He did it nicely. He was still green in front. There is a winner's race in Naas (May 15) he might go for. He was lazy and idling away and that's why he let him gallop along. I thought he won well enough."