The Danny O’Brien-trained colt was slashed into $13 equal favourite with Surprise Baby to win the Melbourne Cup following the win. One punter pre-empted Russian Camelot’s Derby win, placing $2000 on him at $26 to win the Melbourne Cup just before the start of the Derby.
However, in his post-race interview, O’Brien wouldn’t commit Russian Camelot to the 3200-metre classic.
“We’ll see. He’s still a young horse,” O’Brien said. “We’ll enjoy today. The owners are a great group of people who have resisted some big offers for the horse.”
Connections bought the horse from the UK as a yearling and trained him like an English horse – his win over 2500 metres coming off a last-start success over 1600 metres.
“It’s rare in Australia but his father, Camelot, he won the English [Epsom] Derby off one prep run,” O’Brien said.
“He only had the one run at the mile in the 2000 Guineas and then he won the Derby second-up.
“We bought the horse from England and brought the training manual with him.
“We’ve had to do something that hasn’t been done before, take him to a derby against the Australian three-year-olds.
“We were always confident the motor was there, particularly once he got over a bit of ground. It was a really enjoyable [race to] watch today.”
It was a ninth career group 1 win for jockey John Allen, who was forced into quarantine for two weeks in Adelaide after arriving from Melbourne, and will be forced into isolation for another two weeks when he returns.
But Allen said it was all worth it, for a horse that clearly has a bright future.
“Obviously, he’s an exceptional horse,” he said. “A lot has been made about his preparation but the biggest factor is he’s still six months younger than all these horses.
“If he can beat them now when he’s only just turned three, imagine what he can do in six months’ time.”
Allen also scored in the group 3 Sires’ Produce Stakes on Ringbolt and in the listed Adelaide Guineas on board Game Keeper, both trained by Tony and Calvin McEvoy.
Meanwhile, at Caulfield, So Si Bon collected his second straight win in comfortable fashion, proving a class above his rivals in the Bert Bryant Handicap, while News Girl improved her sprinting record, winning the open 1100-metre handicap.
Apprentice Lewis German rode a double at Caulfield.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.