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Camelot Pays Tribute to Late Sire Montjeu

Run a few hours before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the first English classic, the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) saw Camelot pay tribute to his late sire, Montjeu. One of the most important sons of Sadler's Wells both as a runner and a sire, Montjeu captured six group one events, including the French Derby (gr. I), Irish Derby (gr. I), Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. I), and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (gr. I).

Montjeu (who died in March), along with his stud companions Galileo and High Chaparral (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), has been instrumental in redeeming what would otherwise have been a disappointing European record for the mighty Sadler's Wells as a sire of sires. In the case of Montjeu, he proved to be the international Derby sire of his era. His sons Motivator, Authorized (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), and Pour Moi took the Epsom Derby (gr. I); Hurricane Run, Frozen Fire, and Fame and Glory captured the Irish Derby (gr. I); and sired from Montjeu's Southern Hemisphere crops, Nom du Jeu and Roman Emperor annexed the Australian Derby (gr. I), to bring Montjeu's total of Derby winners to eight from his first seven years at stud.

Although Camelot only retained his unbeaten record by a neck in the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I), he will almost certainly start favorite to credit Montjeu with his fourth Epsom Derby (gr. I) victor, as it's rare indeed to find a Montjeu who is able to win a major event at a distance as short as a mile at age 3 or older, and Camelot scored in the style of a horse who will be seen to greater advantage over a longer distance. Camelot does have a slightly quicker pedigree than many of his sire's offspring, as his first two dams are by the miler Kingmambo and the sprinter/miler Danehill. That said, it is not by any means a sprinting pedigree. The dam, Tarfah, was a group winner over nine furlongs, and the second dam, Fickle, was a listed winner at 10 furlongs. The third dam, Fade, is by the Prix Lupin (gr. I) victor Persepolis, out One Over Parr (cleverly-named daughter of Seventh Bride), who not only won the Cheshire Oaks (gr. III) and Lancashire Oaks (gr. III), but was also a sister to the English Oaks (gr. I) heroine Polygamy. From a standpoint of purely academic interest, we can note that the family goes tail-female to the great Hungarian mare of the 1870s, Kincsem, undefeated in 54 starts, including major events Austria, Hungary, Germany, France, and England.

The decision to breed Tarfah to Montjeu would have appeared to be a very logical one. Montjeu has crossed exceptionally well with mares by Tarfah's grandsire, Mr. Prospector, the nick producing 20 stakes winners from 138 starters (14%), 14 of them group, and four group I, including other classic winners Motivator and Frozen Fire (the cross currently rates a TrueNicks A+). The mating also reverses the prolific Kingmambo/Sadler's Wells cross and brings together the three-parts-brothers Sadler's Wells and Nureyev (broodmare sire of Kingmambo). Montjeu has also sired three stakes winners, including last year's grade I scorer Sarah Lynx, from mares by Danehill, sire of the second dam here.

6 Comments:

It was good to see a son of the late sire, Montjeu win such an important classic race at one mile. If he does win the Epsom Derby it would be nice if Camelot was pointed towards the English Triple Crown as the 14 furlongs of the St. Leger would be no problem for this horse. But in the world of racing to-day there are so many big purses to be aimed for and it remains to be seen what will be planned for him.

John T 08 May 2012 9:05 PM

Hard for me to get a fix on Camelot's real quality. So far, seems his best asset may be his tractability. This attribute could aid him at Epsom, but he seems to have neither brilliance nor great (closing) acceleration. Could he be nothing more than a middle distance grinder-which may go along with his pedigree?

sceptre 09 May 2012 7:31 PM

I think probably to judge Camelot fairly, we've got to let him run over a mile and a half. He certainly didn't win in the style of a Dancing Brave or El Gran Senor, but they were fast horses who could just about get a mile and half, where Camelot might be one that really needs the trip.

According to the Racing Post sectionals the pace was a pretty consistent one, so Camelot did actually have to quicken to take the lead from a fair way off the pace,rather than everything in front stopping.

At the moment, I'd say a very satisfactory effort from a horse who wants to go a fair bit further, rather than establishing himself as a real standout. It could be that a similar turn of foot will look more impressive against stayers (and the inevitably bunch of non-stayers) at Epsom.

Alan Porter 10 May 2012 10:40 AM

All good points, Alan, and what you noted about the sectionals is encouraging. He's won all three with nearly identical tactics, so O'Brien apparently had him figured from the beginning-but what he saw back then to employ such tactics intrigues me. I know it's a contrarian speculation, but I wonder whether O'Brien has concerns about his stamina-from the gallops/trials and/or the dam (she evidenced both quality and stamina limitations)? I wouldn't speculate that he's nothing more than a closing sprinter, but could he be a closing middle distance type? As far as closing sprinters (and nothing more) two come readily to mind-Royal Ascot (before your time/check out his pedigree), and Honorable Miss. He also appears not to be a great "accelerator" as was Lyphard and some of his get ex. Dancing Brave that were distance limited. So, I think that tractability coupled with a high turn of foot can carry some a long way, but for others, such as a Royal Ascot and Honorable Miss it translates to no more than 7f, or so. As said, Camelot doesn't appear to fit either these molds. You're right, though, Epsom will be enlightening.    

sceptre 10 May 2012 3:32 PM

Sceptre: I think that guessing whether a horse is a late-closer running over the right trip, or a horse dying out for longer is very tough to tell by eye.

With his dam's side, it could be that Camelot is a shorter distance runner than most by his sire, just as Frankel is far more speedy than the average Galileo.

He's been held up at the rear in both his group one wins, but it's really hard to know whether it's to save his stamina, or to avoid pushing him out of his comfort zone as far as cruising speed is concerned.

The dam was a different type, as she made all to win over a mile, although her best effort came over nine furlongs.

On the balance, I'm going to go with the idea that he'll stay 1 1/2 miles and his turn of foot will look more impressive over that trip. That said, I'm quite prepared to be wrong! He'll probably confound both and be a ten furlong horse!

Alan Porter 11 May 2012 4:46 PM

Camelot as expected came through with flying colours to win

the Epsom Derby as there is no stamina limitations to this horse and thankfully there is already a lot of conversation

about preparing him for the English Triple Crown last accomplished by Nijinsky in 1970.

John T 02 Jun 2012 8:56 PM

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