Investec Derby Day 2012
With Derby Day honoured to start the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, what better winner than one named after the legendary court of a king – Camelot.
And to please the media, this was a Derby with many stories – the smallest field since 1907; the shortest priced favourite since Tudor Minstrel in 1947; the fourth winner of the race in eight years by Montjeu and, the first time a father & son were the Derby winning trainer & jockey. But let’s start at the beginning.
Camelot, a well-made bay colt, was purchased by Coolmore for 525,000 guineas from Highclere Stud at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. His dam, Tarfah (by Kingmambo), won five races including the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket and had one previous winner – Ideal, by Galileo.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle and ridden by his son Joseph, Camelot commenced his career at Leopardstown, winning an 2-y-o Maiden over one mile in mid-July.
In October, he travelled to Doncaster for the Racing Post Trophy, and after an impressive performance, beating Jim Bolger’s Zip Top by 2¼ lengths, he became the winter favourite for the Derby.
Camelot made his 3-y-o debut in the Two Thousand Guineas; kept at the rear of the field throughout, he burst through inside the final furlong, to win by a neck, from French Fifteen.
The following Derby trials brought forth their challengers, but despite victories for Bonfire in the Dante Stakes, Mickdam and Astrology in the Chester Vase and Dee Stakes and Main Sequence in the Lingfield Derby Trial, this year run on the All-weather course, none could prevent Camelot from starting the 8-13 favourite.
All nine runners got off to a good start, and after the first furlong, Astrology led Thought Worthy and Rugged Cross. There was little change in the order to the top of the hill, where Camelot remained last but one.
Rounding Tattenham Corner, Astrology and Thought Worthy fought out the lead, while Camelot was still seven lengths adrift. However, approaching the two furlong marker, 19-year-old, Joseph O’Brien boldly brought Camelot with a strong run up the outside, to join Astrology at the furlong pole, then, accelerated away to win easily by five lengths. Main Sequence ran on gamely to be second, with Astrology third, a short head away.
The winning time was 2 min. 33.90 sec.
The last horse home was Cavaleiro, ridden by Hayley Turner, matching the position of Alex Greaves, aboard Portuguese Lil in 1996; Haley and Alex being the only ladies to have ridden in the Derby.
In the interviews that followed the trophy presentation to owners, Derek Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor, it became apparent that their wishes were to run Camelot in the St Leger, and so attempt the first Triple Crown victory since Nijinsky in 1970.
Finally, the estimated attendance of 130,000, was an encouraging sign for Investec, who have renewed their sponsorship for a further 10 years.
Here follows, the result of the 2012 Investec Derby in the style of my book,
together with the details of Montjeu’s four Epsom Derby winners.