Russian Camelot’s story commenced at Camas Park Stud in County Tipperary, Ireland. The farm's graduates also include 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling (GB) who was bought as a weanling by the stud.
Purchased as a yearling for an Australian based ownership group and Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien, Russian Camelot, out of the Cape Cross mare Lady Babooshka, was already behind his Australian age group. He was born on March 29th, 2017, when all his potential Australian his rivals were foaled in 2016.
However, under Melbourne winning trainer O’Brien the Camelot colt created history at Adelaide’s Morphettville on Saturday when he became the first Northern Hemisphere bred three-year-old to win a Derby in Australia after 853 editions.
Not only did Russian Camelot give away six months in age he was stepping up from 1600m to the 2500m of the Derby at just his third start this campaign after missing two lead-up runs and running wide throughout the race.
He defeated Dalasan by 1 3/4L with Victoria Derby winner Warning a length away third. Immediately Russian Camelot became the favourite for the 2020 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.
“I was comfortable with the way he was travelling (early), but probably not comfortable where I was in the race,” said jockey John Allen with trainer O’Brien watching from Melbourne.
“Danny filled me with confidence. He said, ‘ride this horse like he was the best horse’ and he was confident if he was close enough on the corner that he’d have a better turn of foot and it proved that way.
“He was just a superior horse.”
The Derby victory was Russian Camelot’s third win, following a Ballarat maiden win last October and Pakenham benchmark 64 over 1600m at his final start before the Derby, from just five starts and lifted his career earnings to A$324,000.
The quality of the win was franked by Russian Camelot running to a Timeform rating of 122, the highest rating in the modern history of the South Australian Derby.
This rating sits well above the other two Derby winners in Australia this term. Quick Thinker ran to 115 in the ATC Australian Derby at Randwick and Warning, who was no match for Russian Camelot on Saturday, ran to the same 115 when winning the VRC Victoria Derby at Flemington last spring.
On Sunday it was the turn of Lauda Sion (JPN) a son of young Deep Impact sire Real Impact, to win his first Grade 1 title in this year’s NHK Mile Cup (1600m) at Tokyo.
The significance of the win is that Real Impact won one of his elite victories in Australian when he took the 2015 edition of the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill. Back in Japan he had earlier won the 2011 Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen before his successful Australian campaign. Lauda Sion is the first Grade 1 winner for Real Impact.
The colt won two out of three starts between 1,200 and 1,400m before finishing eighth in his first 1600m challenge in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes as a two-year-old. He commenced his three-year-old campaign with a win in the Crocus Stakes (Listed, 1,400m) and finished second in his last start, the Falcon Stakes (Grade 3, 1,400m) in March.
The NHK Mile Cup victory was the second JRA-Grade 1 title for trainer Takashi Saito after his winning the Shuka Sho with Chrono Genesis last year. Jockey Mirco Demuro, who also won the same race last year with Admire Mars, scored his 32nd JRA-Grade 1 victory with his latest victory being only last month in the Osaka Hai with Lucky Lilac.
In the race Lauda Sion, out of the Songandaprayer mare Antiphona, broke well from the barriers and disputed the lead with Resistencia (JPN) before Demuro eased back in second. Settling well while never more than half a length behind the race favourite and pressing the pace, Lauda Sion demonstrated his strength with perfect timing as Resistencia started to weaken in the last 200m and he drew away with ease to win by a comfortable 1-1/2-length margin.
Both race meetings at Morphettville and Tokyo were conducted without on course patrons due to Covid-19 restrictions.