The Racing Post Trophy (3.50pm, Doncaster, Saturday) is the final Group 1 race of the British Flat racing season and usually has a bearing on the following season’s Classics, especially the Derby. Last year’s winner Kingsbarns failed to make it to Epsom, but three of the last ten winners, Motivator (2004), Authorized (2006) and Camelot (2011), went on to win the Blue Riband event.
Even in the absence of Toormore, who was withdrawn because of rain-softened ground, this year’s renewal has attracted four unbeaten colts, including Century, Kingston Hill and Pinzolo, who were all supplemented for the race on Monday.
Aidan O’Brien has won the Racing Post Trophy seven times in total and sets punters a puzzle by saddling three, Century (4/1), Johan Strauss (14/1) and Buonarroti (16/1). To make matters worse, jockey bookings for the Ballydoyle trio have yet to be announced, but Century has a similar profile to past winners Camelot and Kingsbarns and looks the stable’s first string.
The son of Montjeu didn’t make his racecourse debut until 13 days ago, but made short work of 14 rivals in a maiden, over a mile, at the Curragh, winning comfortably by 1½ lengths. The fact that his powerful connections have decided to supplement him speaks in his favour but, with the going on Town Moor already good to soft and more rain on the way, underfoot conditions may be a cause for concern. His current price reflects his potential, rather than what he’s actually achieved on the racecourse, so he may be worth taking on.
Certainly, in terms of form in the book, Kingston Hill (7/2) has more pressing claims. The son of Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Mastercraftsman comfortably won a maiden, over 7 furlongs, at Newbury in September on his racecourse debut and was quite impressive when following up in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes, over a mile, at Newmarket two weeks ago. It can be argued that Aidan O’Brien has a line to the form through the Autumn Stakes runner-up, Oklahoma City, but Kingston Hill’s proven ability to handle soft ground should stand him in good stead and he sets the standard.
Pinzolo (4/1) is also two from two, having won a Newmarket maiden in August, despite running green. He followed up in a small conditions race at Newbury last month, despite being denied a clear run. He’s probably better than the form he’s shown so far and, as he’s proven over a mile on soft going, shouldn’t be underestimated.
One that may have been underestimated, as far as the bookmakers are concerned, is Chief Barker (8/1). Richard Hannon’s unbeaten Azamour colt took the scalp of subsequent Shadwell Fillies Mile winner, Chriselliam, on his most recent outing at Haydock last month and looks the type to keep on progressing. His Haydock win came on good to soft going, but his style of racing suggests that he may be even better suited by soft going. Pedigree-wise, he has the profile of a typical 2,000 Guineas winner, so he looks one to keep very much on the right side.
Somewhat (8/1) appears to be improving with experience, but is unproven on going softer than good to firm. Snow Sky (14/1) was impressive when winning his maiden, over a mile, on heavy going at Salisbury earlier this month, but appears to have plenty to find if the BHA handicapper is anywhere near in his assessment of him. The Grey Gatsby (18/1) appears exposed as short of the class required to win a Racing Prost Trophy.
Altruistic (16/1), trained, and due to be ridden by, Johnny Murtagh has the form to go well at a big price but, at the odds on offer, none makes more appeal than Chief Barker. Surprisingly, Richard Hannon has never won the Racing Post Trophy, but our betting advice is to back CHIEF BARKER to win at 8/1 with Betfred, Ladbrokes or Stan James.