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Homecoming Double For Regal O'brien - A Review Of The 2000 & 1000 Guineas
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Aidan O’Brien completed a Guineas double made up of two contrasting styles. A winter of expectation did not affect Camelot as the favourite swept to an imperious victory in the 2000 Guineas. The unfancied Homecoming Queen, a 25-1 shot, galloped the 1000 Guineas field into submission.

The 2000 Guineas basked in the day's sunshine and the pre-racing return of Frankel who galloped on the course, treating his fellow workers with the same disdain as he had the 2000 Guineas field last year. Camelot, the winter favourite, was the focus of attention before the race as many wondered whether the colt, who looks and is bred to be more naturally suited to the Derby distance, would have the speed for the race.

Once the gates opened the field split into three groups. The far-side group was led along by the fancied French horse Abtaal (7/1). A small group ran up the middle of the course, while the majority ran up the rail nearest the grandstand. The nearside group was always in front and 18 year old jockey Joseph O'Brien, riding in his first classic as stable jockey to his father, held Camelot under cover near the back of that group. Once the race started in earnest, 3 furlongs from home, the young jockey brought Camelot striding smoothly through the pack to take the lead, with French Fifteen coming out of the pack to give chase. Camelot always looked in control and won by a comfortable neck from French Fifteen (12/1) and Hermival (16/1) to give Joseph his first classic win and Aidan his sixth 2000 Guineas.

Aidan O'Brien quickly stated the next target for Camelot was the Derby, which was a popular choice as Coolmore are urged to chase the triple crown with him. The only group who seem unhappy with this were the bookmakers, who ran for cover making Camelot a best priced 5/4 favourite for the Derby. Racing needs and adores its stars. Can Camelot claim the crown most recently worn by Frankel and Sea the Stars?

The 1000 Guineas was delayed for half an hour while Gray Pearl received treatment after getting her head stuck under the starting stalls. The on-course team dealt with her in a sensitive and professional manner, giving the filly time to recover from the shock and erecting a screen to protect her from view. The BHA later said that she had suffered a spinal cord injury that sadly proved fatal.

As most three year old fillies seem to be highly strung bundles of nerves it was a surprise that the delay did not seem to have a noticeable effect on any of the runners. The same was not true of the ground. During the delay the overly familiar rain arrived to further dampen the ground and the spirits of the crowd, who seemed subdued by the injury to Gray Pearl.

The field jumped evenly and Homecoming Queen zipped to the front, looking to all the world like a pacemaker for her stablemate, the 13-8 favourite Maybe. Ryan Moore set a decent pace in the wet conditions and from around halfway the prospect of any runner mounting a challenge diminished with every stride to the point that, as Ryan Moore later said, he was so far clear he could only hear the commentator. Late on, Homecoming Queen wandered over the the far side of the course looking for the rail to give the tired leader some direction but crossed the line a nine length winner from Starscope (33/1) and Maybe a further length back in third.

The double by Coolmore dispelled any concern over Ballydoyle after not having won a classic since 2008 and their relatively lean 2011. It does raise question marks over the strength of the Godolphin operation. Once vying with Ballydoyle on ever front, they are now undoubtedly in second place in terms of stallions, with their flagship stallions Shamardal and Dubawi not yet in the same league as Galileo and Montjeu, and on the racecourse, with all three of their Guineas runners finishing well down the field.

Whatever the reason for Godolphin’s downturn, it does not detract from the O'Briens who will have a happy homecoming back to Ballydoyle, their very own camelot.


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