Racing Post Trophy Preview
Doncaster hosts the last Group One of the British flat racing season this Saturday and a field of eleven have stood their ground with the race three days away. The race, for two-year-olds only, is often a key pointer to classic success for the following year. Saturday’s field hope to join past Racing Post winners like American Post, Palace Episode and St Nicholls Abbey, but, connections will be striving for much more. The Racing Post Trophy has been used as a stepping stone to more Group One glory by racing greats like High Chaparral. Further special winners include Motivator and Authorized, the latter giving Frankie Dettori his maiden Derby success. Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last ten runnings and again, is well represented with three runners. Jockey arrangements haven’t been settled yet but noises coming from Ballydoyle suggest Johnny Murtagh will ride 11-2 shot, Seville.
Currently, the Mick Halford trained Casamento is heading the market. It has been quite a while since Halford has trained a horse of this calibre on the flat and there maybe a case to say Casamento is value at 9-4 given his relatively low key trainer. The son of Shamardal has had three starts thus far, winning two and just being touched off in a decent Group Two at the Curragh. His form entitles him to be favourite and ground conditions won’t be a problem. He has won over the trip and his trainer reports him to be in good form. Frankie Dettori is another huge positive. The only draw back maybe his style of racing. The straight mile track at Doncaster is very tough to make all on, but the Frankie factor curbs any pessimism in this department.
Irish trained horses very much hold sway in the market and Kevin Prendergast’s Dunboyne Express is second favourite at 7-2. There is no doubting Prendergast’s charges’ form and quality, but the trip maybe his Achilles heel. The two-year-old is certainly not short of pace as he showed when winning the Anglesey Stakes over six furlongs. He has won over seven but that was on genuine good ground. Another furlong in softer ground doesn’t make him a betting opposition even with connections bullish over their chances.
Aidan O’Brien took this race last year with the highly impressive St Nicholls Abbey. Seville appears to be the stables main hope this year if the prices are anything to go by. The son of Galileo has had just the two starts, winning one and filling the runner-up berth on debut. His debut effort is starting to work out quite well with a number of runners behind him now holding ratings in the eighties. The Ballydoyle inmate then went to Tipperary where he cruised home for an effortless victory in a weak race. Both his starts have come on soft ground, but, the son of Galileo should appreciate the better ground. The step up in trip is another huge positive and big race jockey, Johnny Murtagh, further increases his prospects.
Native Khan is your fourth favourite and Paul Hanagan will be bidding for his second Group One success. He was an eye catching winner on debut at Newmarket, but wasn’t so impressive when taking a Sandown Group Three six weeks later, albeit an above average contest. He just seems to lack the class, but his stamina laden pedigree should see him finishing better than most.
The rest of the field are priced correctly. However, Brian Meehan’s Titus Mills is the potential dark horse. Meehan has made no secret of the regard he holds the son of Dubawi in. The stable won the 2008 running with the subsequently disappointing Crowed House and Meehan considers his horse “just as good”. Kieren Fallon is a notable jockey booking as Martin Dwyer can’t ride. However, like Dunboyne Express, there are slight doubts about the trip. The straight mile at Doncaster could just prove too taxing at this stage of his career.
It would be a surprise if the winner of this years Racing Post Trophy didn’t come from the above mentioned. Dunboyne Express could well be the class horse of the race, but, the trip is a serious worry. Titus Mills will go very close if seeing out the trip well, but there are doubts. He does represent the best value in the race, though. Seville represents top connections and last years winning combination so must be respected, even though he will need to improve. Native Khan is another who needs to improve and should do so with the extra yardage. Ed Dunlop’s horse is probably the best each-way bet of the race.
However, everything seems to point to Casamento and Frankie Dettori. Mick Halford may have a potential superstar on his hands and even though his charge is favourite, he still offers a touch of value. If Casamento was trained by a leading trainer he would be a 6-4 shot.
Advice: 2pt win Casamento @ 9-4