Run a few hours before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the first English classic, the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) saw Camelot pay tribute to his late sire, Montjeu. One of the most important sons of Sadler’s Wells, both as a runner and a sire, Montjeu captured six group one events, including the French Derby (gr. I), Irish Derby (gr. I), Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I), and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (gr. I).
Montjeu – who died in March – along with his stud companions Galileo and High Chaparral, has been instrumental in redeeming what would otherwise have been a disappointing European record for the mighty Sadler’s Wells as a sire of sires. In the case of Montjeu is concerned, he proved to be the international Derby sire of his era. Motivator, Authorized and Pour Moi took the Epsom Derby (gr. I), Hurricane Run, Frozen Fire and Fame and Glory captured the Irish Derby (gr. I), and sired from Southern Hemisphere crops, Nom du Jeu and Roman Emperor annexed the Australian Derby (gr. I), to bring Montjeu’s total of Derby winners to eight from his first seven years at stud.
Although Camelot only retained his unbeaten record by a neck in the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I), he will almost certainly start favorite to credit Montjeu with his fourth Epsom Derby (gr. I), as it’s rare indeed to find a Montjeu who is able to win a major event at a distance as short as a mile at three or older, and Camelot certainly scored in the style of a horse who will be seen to greater advantage over a longer distance. Camelot does have a slightly quicker pedigree than many of his sire’s offspring, as his first two dams are by the miler, Kingmambo, and the sprinter/miler, Danehill. Not that it is by any means a sprinting pedigree. The dam, Tarfah, was a group winner over nine furlongs, and the second dam, Fickle, was a listed winner at ten furlongs. The third dam, Fade, is by the Prix Lupin (gr. I) victor, Persepolis, out One Over Parr (cleverly-named daughter of Seventh Bride), who not only won the Cheshire Oaks (gr. III) and Lancashire Oaks (gr. III), but was also a sister to the English Oaks (gr. I) heroine, Polygamy. From a standpoint of purely academic interest, we can note that the family goes tail-female to the great Hungarian mare of the 1870s, Kincsem, undefeated in 54 starts, including major events Austria, Hungary, German, France and England.
The decision to breed Tarfah to Montjeu would have appeared to be a very logical one. Montjeu has crossed exceptionally well with mares descending from Tarfah’s grandsire, Mr. Prospector, the cross producing 20 stakes winners from 138 starters (14%), 14 of them group, and four group one, including other classic winners Motivator and Frozen Fire. Not surprisingly, Camelot is TrueNicks rated A+ on the basis of the Montjeu/Mr. Prospector cross. The mating also reverses the prolific Kingmambo/Sadler’s Wells cross, which brings together the three-parts-brothers Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev (broodmare sire of Kingmambo). Montjeu has also sired three stakes winners, including last year’s grade one scorer, Sarah Lynx, from mares by Danehill, sire of the second dam here.