Camelot (purple silks) tackles French Fifteen in the 2,000 GuineasPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Camelot claims Guineas in captivating finish
Report: Newmarket, Saturday
Qipco 2,000 Guineas Stakes (204th running) (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 3yo, 1m
THE racing behemoth of Ballydoyle claimed another British Classic - and a first for jockey Joseph O'Brien - as the undefeated Camelot stormed to victory at Newmarket.
Camelot, the clear 15-8 favourite for the season's first Classic, was held up under a patient ride from his young jockey and made smooth progress through the field to lay down his challenge in the final furlong.
Only Gallic raider French Fifteen went with him but Camelot edged ahead of the Olivier Peslier-ridden colt in a frantic finish and secured victory by a neck.
In doing so he secured his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, a first British Classic since 2008, overturned a 40-year losing streak for Racing Post Trophy winners in the Guineas, and confirmed himself as the runaway favourite for the Investec Derby next month.
His price for Epsom success ranges from William Hill's 4-5 (from 9-4) to Coral's 6-4 (from 2).
"We always thought he was a bit special," said Aidan O'Brien. "The lads will speak about his next target but looking at him you would think the Derby would suit him."
"He wasn't in love with the ground," added Joseph O'Brien. "You'd like to think he'll be better on nicer ground."
O'Brien played his cards perfectly on the winner, his early patience giving way to an explosion of controlled power at the business end of the race.
After threading his way through the field he emerged at the front of the peloton of runners almost at the same moment as French Fifteen, but it was the Ballydoyle runner who had the momentum and stamina to seal the race in the shadow of the post.
Nicholas Clement, trainer of the runner-up, said : "We are delighted with that and it looks like the winner is exceptional.
"He's a great advertisement for the stable as he's always finished first or second in all his seven races and he will now look at either the French Derby or the St James's Palace Stakes."
Another French runner, Hermival, finished third and the always-prominent Trumpet Major was next home, narrowly ahead of Coupe De Ville in fifth.
Hermival jockey Gregory Benoist: "He would have been better with some company near the finish and he was looking at some photographers near the line as he is still a baby.
Richard Hughes, rider of Trumpet Major, added :"He didn't really like the ground when he got away with it at the Craven meeting. Something like Royal Ascot would suit him better."