05/06/2013 3:23PM

The Curragh: Camelot returns with win in Mooresbridge Stakes


Camelot, the 2012 Epsom Derby winner, made a successful 2013 debut winning the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths Monday at The Curragh in Ireland.

Held in last by jockey Joseph O’Brien as his stablemate, Triumphant, opened a big lead, Camelot picked up his pace about a half-mile from the finish of the 1 1/4-mile Mooresbridge, and though he still was last of five with just more than a quarter-mile to run, Camelot produced good acceleration two furlongs out when asked by O’Brien for run. Rallying outside, he ran down Triumphant in the final half-furlong and won going away.

The race had added significance because Camelot hadn’t started since undergoing emergency colic surgery late last year. That brush with death appeared well behind him Monday, but there’s still no fixed sense of Camelot’s quality. He won both his starts at 2 and captured the English 2000 Guineas before his Derby win, but the European 3-year-old crop of 2012 was below average, and after being denied the English Triple Crown by Encke in the St. Leger, Camelot could only finish seventh in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Monday, Camelot was not fully fit, nor was his competition anything close to high class, and more might be learned of the colt in his next race, which is likely to come, trainer Aidan O’Brien said, in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, another 1 1/4-mile race at The Curragh.

Dawn Approach to Epsom Derby

Dawn Approach, the leading European 3-year-old this spring, was termed a probable runner in the Epsom Derby by trainer Jim Bolger on Monday. Bolger said he and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, whose Godolphin owns the undefeated colt, were to make a final decision on Dawn Approach’s status early this week. Dawn Approach, who on Saturday easily won the English 2000 Guineas, has been considered for the one-mile Irish 2000 Guineas along with the 1 1/2-mile Derby. The English 2000 Guineas marked his first try at a distance as far as a mile, and there are questions about whether Dawn Approach can stay the Derby distance.