Danny O’Brien branded rising star Russian Camelot as the best horse he had trained after his commanding win in the Group One Underwood Stakes.
“He’s the best horse I’ve had anything to do with. He’s a magnificent colt,” O’Brien said after the 1800m event.
O’Brien pointed out that Russian Camelot was still a young horse as he was a three-year-old by northern hemisphere time and only having his seventh start.
“It’s really exciting to see him produce performances like this so early in his career,” O’Brien said.
“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.”
His jockey Damien Oliver, who recorded his 120th Group One win, said he was a perfect Cox Plate horse.
He said it was good for a boom galloper to be fulfilling his potential so early in his career.
“He’s an exciting horse and it’s a pleasure to be riding him. He could well be up to a race like the Cox Plate,” Oliver said
Russian Camelot is now a $3.50 favourite to win the Cox Plate with TAB fixed odds and an $8 equal favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
O’Brien said he would stick to his program and the horse would have his next start in two week’s time in the Caulfield Stakes and then a fortnight later in the Cox Plate.
A decision on the Melbourne Cup will be made after that.
In a surprise, Russian Camelot worked forward and sat second in the run behind leader Trap For Fools.
Oliver angled him to the middle of the track and he took the lead early in the straight and outstayed his rivals.
Russian Camelot ($1.55 fav) defeated veteran Humidor ($17) by 1-3/4 lengths with Arcadia Queen ($5.50) a half-length away third.
O’Brien said he left the riding tactics to Oliver.
“I got sick of talking about it. In the finish I said to Damien, ‘you’re the best jockey on the best horse so I’ll leave it up to you to work it out,’” O’Brien said.
Oliver described Russian Camelot as a classic weight-for-age horse as he had the ability to sit on the pace or to sit back.
The champion jockey said he didn’t have a set plan before the Underwood but when he jumped nicely he thought he should take advantage of that and push forward.