Multiple Classic winner Camelot made a winning return to action in the High Chaparral European Breeders Fund Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
Aidan O’Brien’s colt won the 2000 Guineas and both the English and Irish Derbies during a spectacular first half of his three-year-old campaign, but was narrowly denied Triple Crown glory in the St Leger at Doncaster.
He disappointed on his final start of the year 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 four-year-old debut.
The presence of the Jim Bolger-trained Parish Hall, a horse good enough to win the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket as a juvenile, added spice to the contest as he appeared to retain plenty of ability when winning on his return from a long lay-off in the Alleged Stakes.
Camelot was settled last of the five runners in the early stages, with his stable companion Triumphant adopting a pacesetting role as anticipated.
Joseph O’Brien eased the market leader closer once straightened up for home and it was clear he was travelling far easier than his opponents.
O’Brien junior had to shake up his mount, but did not resort to his whip, and Camelot quickened smartly to run to the lead.
Triumphant kept going to finish second, with Parish Hall 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.”
Asked if the Tattersalls Gold Cup back at the Curragh on May 26 was likely to be Camelot’s next race, O’Brien said: “That’s still the plan.
“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% today.”