Camelot's legend lives on
Red-hot favourite Camelot swooped late to claim the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket by a neck.
Aidan O'Brien had made no secret of his admiration for this son of the late Montjeu who had wowed racewatchers when winning the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last season.
The colt had been a short-priced favourite for this first Classic of the season ever since but he was relatively easy to back on the day with some uncertainty about the ground and statisticians pointing to his sire's poor record with three year olds over the trip.
However, Camelot overcame those negatives to pick off the challenge of French Fifteen and was duly cut to even money favourite by Sky Bet for next month's Investec Derby with Ladbrokes offering just 3-1 for the Triple Crown.
Held-up in midfield of the stands' side group by Joseph O'Brien, he always looked to be travelling comfortably enough but it did appear as though he could struggle to pick the pacesetters up.
However, the leaders of each of the three groups which were spread across the width of the famous Rowley Mile started to tread water on the stiff climb to the line as those from off the pace came through to do battle.
Nicolas Clement's French Fifteen threw down a strong challenge on the near side but just couldn't get past while fellow French raider Hermival made the best of his way home up the far side rail to finish just over two lengths back in third.
Trumpet Major was back in fourth, doing best of those to have raced up with the pace.
Joseph O'Brien said: "He has a lot of class and speed, I always felt I was getting there. He got a bit tired in the last 100 yards on his first run (of the season) but hopefully he will come on for it.
"I didn't get the best run through, I was a long way back but he was very relaxed and will be much better going a bit further."
O'Brien senior, winning the 2000 Guineas for a sixth time, said: "It's one of those unbelievable days.
"We knew from the statistics that Camelot had a lot against him, we knew he had a lot to overcome but we always thought he was very special.
"I was worried about the race and I'm glad I didn't say anything to Joseph.
"I'm delighted for everybody and all those who work with him every day. We are very lucky to have such a horse and many special people who look after him.
"Obviously I learned a lot from running St Nicholas Abbey in the Guineas two years ago and it's only now he's getting the brilliance back he had at two."
On future plans, O'Brien said: "It's like it always is. We will go home and the lads (owners) will talk about it and make a decision.
"We have lots to look forward to and we'll take it one race at a time
"You would imagine looking at him (that) the Derby would be a very suitable race for him."