Camelot- a new legend?

Camelot has delivered Montjeu, his first Guineas winner. His success didn’t look likely until inside the final furlong, but in the end he was probably worth a little bit more than his official margin of a neck.  His success confirms the greatness of both Montjeu and Aidan O’Brien.

Aidan O’Brien

Camelot was Aidan O’Brien’s sixth 2000 Guineas winner, following King of Kings, Rock of Gibraltar, Footstepsinthesand, George Washington and Henrythenavigator. All of them were making their seasonal debuts and to me the ability to get a horse fully fit on the gallops is one of the hallmarks of a top trainer. The ability to learn from past mistakes and the knowledge that comes from training a lot of the members of the same family or offspring of the same sire can give trainers that extra edge. Aidan has trained more Montjeu’s than anybody else and he was quick to acknowledge that he made mistakes in prepping a previous Racing Post Trophy winner St Nicholas Abbey for the Guineas and he clearly didn’t repeat those mistakes with Camelot.

Camelot’s pedigree

Camelot cost 525,000 guineas at the 2010 Tattersalls October sales which made him the highest priced yearling by Montjeu sold that year.  For that sort of money you would expect him to be both handsome and especially well bred. His pedigree is undoubtedly high class although in truth it has lacked a superstar until Camelot, so we can assume he was a very taking physical specimen.


Camelot’s dam Tarfah was unraced at two, won three of her 4 starts including a listed handicap at Ascot as a three year old and then continued the good work by winning the listed Snowdrop stakes and the Group 3 Dahlia stakes in her first two runs at four. She failed to trouble the judge in the Windsor Forest run at York that year when Ascot was being redeveloped and was last seen disappointing in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom in June 2006. She was reported as having burst a blood vessel that day and was not seen again on the track but retired with a very creditable record of 5 wins from 8 starts. Tarfah’s first foal was a filly by Galileo who cost 240,000 Guineas and named Ideal.  Trained by David Wachman, from her seven starts to date she won a 10 furlong maiden at Clonmel but is clearly a long way short of top class.


Tarfah’s dam Fickle was trained by Michael Bell and ran five times as a three year old. She won her maiden at Brighton on her third start and won a listed race on her final start at Newcastle when she got the run of the race and sprung a surprise when winning at 20-1. With the black type secured it was presumably decided to retire her to the paddocks.  At stud Tarfah was by a long way her best offspring with her only other winner being the very modest Sistine who is closely related to Tarfah being by Dubai Destination (a son of Kingmambo).


Camelot’s third dam Fade was unraced but she proved a useful producer, leaving 8 winners from 8 runners including 3 other stakes performers besides Fickle in Faru (by Mtoto) , Birdie (by Alhaarth) and Fading Light (by King’s Best).

One over Parr

Camelot’s fourth dam One Over Parr (by Reform out of Seventh Bride) was very useful .  She won the Cheshire Oaks and the Lancashire Oaks, both Group 3’s and was a full sister to an Epsom Oaks winner in the 1974 winner Polygamy who gave Pat Eddery his first English Classic on the day that I was born ! As for the name One Over Parr history buffs might recall that Henry VIII’s sixth wife was called Catherine Parr hence with a dam of Seventh Bride, the name One Over Parr was very clever.


For those who really, really like to delve into a pedigree (and my thanks to the poster who notified me), Camelots 17th dam is no less than the Hungarian supermare Kincsem! Kincsem retired with a record of 54 wins from 54 starts and was dominant on the continent before crossing the Channel and claiming the Goodwood Cup in 1878. For a detailed account of her racing and broodmare career click here


Tarfah is a daughter of Kingmambo and he has combined very well with daughters of  Montjeu’s sire Sadler’s Wells.  Kingmambo has sired Henrythenavigator, El Condor Pasa and Divine Proportions on this cross and his son King’s Best has produced Workforce out of a Sadler’s Wells mare.


Camelot is an unbeaten Group 1 winner at two and now a Guineas winner at three. The next logical target is the Derby and he is already an odds on shot in most books for the Epsom showpiece.  The assumption is that being by Montjeu he should have no difficulty in staying 12 furlongs and the triple crown is also now being talked about.  However before getting carried away with the hype, it is worth remembering that neither Tarfah nor Fickle were ever asked to race beyond 10 furlongs and as racehorses themselves the sires in the lower half of the pedigree were all sprinters or milers with the exception of Persepolis who won the Prix Lupin over 10 furlongs. The slight concern is that winning a Guineas shows Camelot to be an atypical Montjeu and perhaps he will also not stay as well as the other high class Montjeu colts.  I certainly wouldn’t be rushing to back him at odds on  for the Derby, however for the sake of racing I fervently hope that he goes on to claim the holy grail that is the triple crown, and for which we have been waiting 42 years to find a successor to Nijinsky.

CAMELOT (GB) 2009 c b

(IRE) 1996
Wells (USA) 1981
Dancer (CAN) 1961
(USA) 1954
(USA) 1957
Bridge (USA) 1975
Reason (USA) 1968
(USA) 1969
(FR) 1985
Ville (IRE) 1976
Top (IRE) 1969
Ville (USA) 1968
Cy (FR) 1979
(FR) 1970
Toumignon (IRE) 1971
(USA) 2001
(USA) 1990
Prospector (USA) 1970
A Native (USA) 1961
Digger (USA) 1962
(USA) 1984
(USA) 1977
(USA) 1979
(GB) 1996
(USA) 1986
(USA) 1977
(USA) 1981
(GB) 1988
(FR) 1979
Over Parr (GB) 1972