Camelot maintained his 100% record with a hard-fought victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Ante-post favourite ever since his brilliant win in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October, the son of Montjeu lived up to his lofty reputation in the colts’ Classic over the Rowley Mile.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by his son, Joseph, the 15-8 favourite defeated French Fifteen (12-1) with Hermival (16-1) third.
The field broke into three groups from the stalls with Abtaal prominent on the far side, Caspar Netscher showing up well in the centre and Redact and Trumpet Major leading the horses on the stands side.
Caspar Netscher and Trumpet Major set sail for home two furlongs out but could not sustain the gallop.
Camelot managed to weave his way through the pack on the near side but had to dig deep to get the better of French Fifteen by a neck.
Hermival, on the far side of the course, was two and a quarter lengths away in third.
Joseph O'Brien said: ``He has a lot of class and speed, I always felt I was getting there. He got a bit tired in the last 100 yards on his first run (of the season) but hopefully he will come on for it.
“I didn’t get the best run through, I was a long way back but he was very relaxed and will be much better going a bit further.”
O'Brien senior, winning the 2000 Guineas for a sixth time, said: ``It's one of those unbelievable days.
“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.
“I was worried about the race and I’m glad I didn’t say anything to Joseph.
“I’m delighted for everybody and all those who work with him every day. We are very lucky to have such a horse and many special people who look after him.
“Obviously I learned a lot from running St Nicholas Abbey in the Guineas two years ago and it’s only now he’s getting the brilliance back he had at two.”
On future plans, O’Brien said: “It’s like it always is. We will go home and the lads (owners) will talk about it and make a decision.
“We have lots to look forward to and we’ll take it one race at a time
“You would imagine looking at him (that) the Derby would be a very suitable race for him."
Camelot shortened to odds-on for the Investec Derby on June 2, with BetVictor cutting him to 4-5 favourite from 2-1. Spokesman Charlie McCann said: ``Unbeaten Camelot showed his class at HQ and we think he'll improve again for the step up to the Derby distance.
“The Derby trials begin this week at Chester but we believe we have just witnessed the best trial for Epsom.”
However, Coral have him at odds against for the premier Classic, going 6-4 from 2s.
“There were numerous reasons for taking on Camelot and we got well stuck in today but his brilliant victory has left us with sizeable six-figure losses in the race,” said spokesman Simon Clare.
Nicolas Clement, trainer of French Fifteen, said: ``I'm delighted with that and the winner was exceptional.
“It’s possible we could go for the French Derby or St James’s Palace next.”
Mikel Delzangles was thrilled with the effort of Hermival, as French-trained horses took the minor honours.
Delzangles said: “It’s a pity he was on his own on that (far) side and he was in front very early.
“I can’t complain, he ran a great race and the two in front of him are definitely good horses.
“It was only his third ever run so I hope he can improve. He’s in the Irish Guineas and we will see about that.”
Richard Hannon said of fourth-placed Trumpet Major: “Richard (Hughes) said the ground got him, he’s run a good race but when he got into the dip he just got stuck in it – three out Richard said he thought he would win and I thought so too.
“I don’t think I would run him on ground like that again and we will probably go to Ascot, which gives us six weeks for the St James’s Palace but the ground would need to be right for him.”