The Racing Post Trophy (3.05pm BST, Doncaster, Saturday) often has a bearing on the following season’s Classics and last year threw up Camelot, who this year landed the 2,000 Guineas and Derby double and started odds-on favourite for the St Leger.
Camelot’s trainer Aidan O’Brien (pictured) has just one entry, Kingsbarns, this time around. At the time of writing, the colt is, unsurprisingly, favourite for this Group 1 two-year-old race at best odds of 15/8 with SkyBet, Blue Square or Stan James.
The son of Galileo didn’t make his racecourse debut until 17 days ago, but hacked up in a mile maiden at Navan, on soft ground, on that occasion and could be anything. The fact that his connections decided to supplement him for the race, at a cost of £17,500 on Monday may provide a clue to his ability and he’s been the subject of strong support in the ante-post betting market. He may well win, but 15/8 is very short for a once-raced maiden winner in a Group 1 race, regardless of the connections, so he’s worth taking on.
Indeed, the son of Dutch Art is the only unbeaten runner in the field and although he’s won just a maiden and a small conditions race, so far, he’s done so with consummate ease. He has his stamina to prove over an extra furlong here, but he shouldn’t be underestimated.
Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather (11/4 with Bet365, Betfred, William Hill) has shown progressive form since being beaten by Kingsbarns’ stablemate, Battle Of Marengo, at Leopardstown last month. The son of Teofilo made all to win a maiden at Gowran Park by seven lengths two weeks later and followed up in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket two weeks ago. He’s from a good family and has a definite chance, but doesn’t appear to be any great value at his current odds.
Sir Patrick Moore (66/1 Betfred, Ladbrokes) is a cheaply-bought French-bred, that trainer Harry Dunlop has campaigned well. The well-named son of Astronomer Royal will love the testing conditions. With prize money down to sixth place and Group 1 prestige down to fourth place, he deserves his chance in a small seven-runner field. He can’t be totally discounted despite the big price, but the problem is he may simply be outclassed.
Mark Johnston’s Steeler (7/2 BetVictor, Betfred) is one of the most experienced runners in the field and, along with First Cornerstone (12/1 Stan James, Paddy Power), has arguably the best form on offer. He’s yet to finish out of the first two in five career starts and stayed on strongly when winning the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket a month ago.
That form entitles him, once again, to beat Birdman (66/1 Boylesports, Stan James), who finished 4½ lengths behind him and reopposes on identical terms. He’s never won on going softer than good, but ran well on good to soft on his debut.
A line through Birdman suggests that Steeler also has the beating of First Cornerstone (12/1), but there are reasons for believing that we’ve yet to see the best of Andrew Oliver’s charge.
First Cornerstone has raced exclusively over seven furlongs so far, but he’s by Hurricane Run, so he can confidently be expected to improve when stepped up to a mile or further. Indeed, the way he stayed on when winning over 7f, on heavy going, at the Curragh in August suggests that a mile, on soft going, on a galloping course like Town Moor is just what he needs at this stage of his career. The only slight doubt about him is the fact that he’s been off the course for 62 days.
- In a race that’s essentially full of ifs, buts and maybes, back FIRST CORNERSTONE to win the Racing Post Trophy at current best odds of 12/1 with Stan James and Paddy Power. He’s one of only two in the field with previous Group 2 winning form and, with significant improvement likely now he steps up to a mile, he looks excellent value for money each-way.