05/03/2012 12:43PM

England: Camelot big favorite for O'Brien in 2000 Guineas


Aidan O’Brien has 30-1 shot Daddy Long Legs for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, but about five hours earlier at Newmarket he’ll saddle the hot favorite Camelot for the Group 1 English 2000 Guineas.

Camelot is one of 18 horses in the first European classic race of the season, a one-mile tilt up the famed Rowley Mile course at Newmarket. England has been waterlogged this spring, but the Newmarket course has dried somewhat in recent days and is forecast to be on the soft side of good Saturday.

Camelot, a son of Montjeu making his seasonal debut, raced only over good going when he won both his starts at age 2, the second of them a 2 1/4-length victory in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy Stakes. Camelot is bred for longer distances and might wind up being better suited to the Epsom Derby than the 2000 Guineas, but the Rowley Mile course can reward stamina, and the thought is that Camelot may possess enough speed to succeed at the trip.

O’Brien has another legitimate contender in Power, winner of the Group 1 National Stakes and second in the Group 1 Dewhurst at 2. In the National, Power beat Dragon Pulse, who last month defeated the previously unbeaten 2-year-old champion Dabirsim in France.

Born to Sea, a promising half-brother to the great Sea the Stars, sharply won his debut late last summer in Ireland for trainer John Oxx but was defeated when stepped up to Group 3 company in his second start. Talent aside, course conditions are a concern for Born to Sea, who appeared more comfortable on good than yielding ground last year.

Trumpet Major was a course and distance winner in his most recent race, capturing the Craven Stakes, a major Guineas prep, by five lengths. But if the field Trumpet Major beat was somewhat suspect, the quality of opposition defeated by Guineas hope Caspar Netscher in the Greenham Stakes was even more questionable.

French Fifteen and Abtaal, one-two in a recent French Group 3, are both fairly well backed in ante-post wagering on the Guineas.