It was great to see last season’s triple Classic winner Camelot back on track when he won the High Chaparral European Breeders Fund Mooresbridge Stakes. He took the Curragh Group Three contest in fine style, visually as he went on to bet stable mate Triumphant by a length and three quarters. His nearest market rival, Parish Hall was a further head behind in third with a 91 rated animal fourth, beaten just under three and a half lengths. It was a satisfactory return especially after his hard 2012.
He had a tough campaign as a three-year-old which yielded three Group One wins from eight to twelve furlongs. He was thwarted by Mahmood Al Zarooni’s Encke in his historic Triple Crown bid before flopping in unsuitable ground in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – a race I still can’t believe connections let him, and St Nicholas Abbey for that matter, run in. Shortly after, he was later diagnosed with colic and underwent a serious and life threatening operation. You can see why it was great to have the Epsom Derby winner back on track and healthy today.
That said his tough life story shouldn’t cloud our thoughts on him as a race horse. We will still have to call it as we see it and in doing that I really think Camelot will need to step it up if he is to reach the lofty heights connections have set him. The 2012 Classic generation were an average bunch, something that is common knowledge. Camelot was the best of them, but he still doesn’t seem to be any great shake. He’s been kept in training to bag major races over 10 and 12 furlongs with connections publicly stating 10 to be his optimum trip.
He currently holds favourtism for races like the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. He’s heavily to the fore in the Coral Eclipse betting at Sandown too. While he’s undoubtedly a horse of huge class I honestly think he’ll come up short against plenty top horses in Europe. Domestically he’ll thrive as the competition just doesn’t seem to be there unless he should clash with Dawn Approach.
At this moment in time, over 10 furlongs, horses like Cirrus Des Aigles, Snow Fairy, Farhh, Pastorius and now, Dawn Approach – especially in receipt of weight, would have his measure. Should he step-up to a mile and a half the likes of St Nicholas Abbey, his stable mate and the Japanese pair (should they met of course) Ovferve and Gentildonna may well prove too much for him. This year’s Classic crop may add further disturbances to Ballydoyle’s plans for him.
Plenty will be answered in due course, as the season progresses. I may well be wrong and if so I’ll hold my hands up but until we see more from Camelot in terms of raw form the jury is still out for me. He’s not a horse I’d be afraid to take on at the top meetings this year especially with any of the above named. His real acid test will come this season against his elders and the 2013 Classic generation. I’m not sure he’s up to it, but only time will tell.