By Nicholas Godfrey
Caulfield: Underwood Stakes G1 A$750,000 (£413,000) 1m1f, turf, 3yo+
Russian Camelot (Danny O’Brien/Damien Oliver)
Russian Camelot is 5-2 favourite (from 7-2) with Ladbrokes for the Cox Plate after a star performance to win the G1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Described as a “magnificent colt” by Danny O’Brien, who reckons the son of Camelot is the best he has trained, the South Australian Derby winner was sent off nearly a 1-2 favourite before beating Humidor by a length and three-quarters after charging down the straight.
The Irish-bred three-year-old is also favourite for the Melbourne Cup with Ladbrokes. Part-owner John Wheeler has already mentioned his ambitions to run the colt in the 2021 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Cox Plate (Ladbrokes): 5-2 Russian Camelot, 8 Armory, 10 Sir Dragonet, 12 Aspetar, Magic Wand, Verry Elleegant, 14 Fierce Impact, 16 Arcadia Queen, Buckhurst, Surprise Baby, 20 bar.
Melbourne Cup (Ladbrokes): 6 Russian Camelot, 8 Surprise Baby, 10 Tiger Moth, 12 Santiago, 16 Master Of Wine, Shared Ambition, Verry Elleegant, 20 bar.
Danny O’Brien (Russian Camelot’s trainer): “It’s really exciting to see him produce performances like this so early in his career. There’s been a lot of hype around him, people are expecting things like this so it’s really exciting to see him go out there and get it done. I think he’s the best horse I’ve had anything to do with, particularly to do so much so early in his career. He’s a magnificent colt and we’re thrilled that he’s got this done today and hopefully it’s not the end of the spring for him. Our plan is to go two weeks to the Caulfield Stakes and then two weeks to the Cox Plate.”
One-two for Hawkes team as Rothfire misfires
Rosehill: Golden Rose G1 A$1m (£550,000) 7f, turf, 3yo
Ole Kirk (Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes/Tommy Berry)
The Hawkes training team landed a notable one-two as Ole Kirk, who is closely related to Black Caviar on the dam’s side, edged out stablemate North Pacific by a head. Both principals will now head for the Caulfield Guineas.
For in-form jockey Tommy Berry, this was a 30th G1 win in the same race that provided his first with Epaulette in 2012.
Odds-on favourite Rothfire returned lame after stopping quickly, having looked sure to win before finishing fourth; his Everest campaign must now be in jeopardy.
Jim Byrne (Rothfire’s jockey): “I had to work to get there but at the 400 metres I didn’t think they were going to catch me, but by the 300 metres it was over. When he didn’t let down straight away I thought something wasn’t right.”
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