Camelot faces moment of truth

Camelot faces his moment of truth in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket this afternoon.

He has been ante-post favourite ever since his easy victory in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last year.

By Montjeu, just like St Nicholas Abbey, who won the same Doncaster race before being beaten into sixth behind Makfi two years ago, Camelot’s trainer Aidan O’Brien has been at pains to not make the same mistake twice and ruin his long-term future.

“If the horse wasn’t going to be ready for the Guineas we didn’t want to be forcing him, so we were letting him tell us really,” said O’Brien.

“He’s been coming along nicely and everything has gone smoothly so far.

“I’d imagine so (he’ll get further). His two runs were over a mile last year and we’re using this as a start-off race,” he told British Champions Series TV.

O’Brien also runs Power, the mount of Ryan Moore.

John Oxx runs Born To Sea, a half-brother to the brilliant Sea The Stars.

“We know he has a good bit of ability, but we don’t know how much,” said Oxx.

“He’s an idle home worker and holds back plenty for himself, so we’ll just have to wait and see now. We’re throwing him in at the deep end and it’s going to be a big test for him, but we have to find out.

“He’s got some similarities with Sea The Stars. He’s a bay with black points and there is no white on him.

“He’s a very good mover, a beautiful walker and very correct. He’s quite well grown, too. He’s not as lengthy as Sea The Stars but he’s very energetic like he was and takes plenty of work to burn off his energy and keep him quiet.”

Roger Charlton meanwhile admits Top Offer will need to show “considerable” improvement to win.

The once-raced colt was an impressive winner of a Newbury maiden last season but missed his intended trial in the Greenham Stakes due to very soft ground.

Charlton still harbours doubts about his ability to be seen at his best in those conditions, but is quietly confident that he has a very smart youngster on his hands.

“Top Offer has been our big hope since last August and finally we are nearly there,” said the Beckhampton trainer.

“He is a wonderful looking colt with great presence and an easy action that may not be suited by the soft ground.

“He has to show considerable improvement from his easy maiden victory last August at Newbury.

“It looks competitive as you would expect with three good colts from France and three from Ireland in the field.

“His work has been good but we won’t know until we try as to whether he is quite up to this class, but I am sure he is a Group horse,” he told his website,

French trainer Nicolas Clement is looking to improve his rather curious record in England with the Criterium International winner French Fifteen.

“He is all ready to go. He worked nicely on Monday and we are hoping for the best with him,” said Clement.

“I have not had many runners in Britain. Stormy River was second to Araafa in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. The only winner I have had in Britain was in a Catterick bumper!

“It would be fantastic to win the Guineas. If the horse finishes in the first four, I’ll be happy.”

John Gosden is under no illusions as to the task facing Fencing.

“Realistically he needs to improve a good deal to turn the tables with the favourite from Doncaster and it wasn’t the plan to come here without a run,” said Gosden.

“He was well held at Doncaster but he won’t mind the ground.”


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