The Racing Post Trophy, run over a straight mile at Doncaster, is the final Group 1 race of the season (3.50pm, Saturday).
Seven favourites, including the last five in a row, have won the prestigious juvenile contest in the last ten years. So the market leader demands close scrutiny in this eight-runner field.
Aidan O’Brien (pictured) has won the Racing Post Trophy seven times, most recently with Kingsbarns in 2012, and this year relies on Jacobean (7/2) and Aloft (12/1) from six entries at the five-day declaration stage.
However, Elm Park (7/4), trained by Andrew Balding, heads the betting market and appears to have more convincing credentials than either of the O’Brien pair.
The son of Phoenix Reach has shown progressive form since making his racecourse debut at Sandown in July, but still didn’t look quite the finished article when winning the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket four weeks ago. He almost certainly has more improvement in him.
Elm Park’s trainer has stated that he wants slower ground over a mile. With the going on Town Moor already good to soft and spells of rain forecast between now and the off time, Elm Park should be in his element.
Jacobean is the better fancied of the O’Brien pair and probably rightly so. He ran on well to finish a never nearer second, beaten 1½ lengths, behind stable companion Royal Navy Ship (originally entered here, too) in a Curragh maiden over 7f two weeks ago. The High Chaparral colt clearly has bags of potential, but he is a very short price for a horse attempting to win at the highest level just 13 days after making his racecourse debut.
Celestial Path (5/1) stayed on strongly to win a York maiden over 7f on his racecourse debut in July. He then followed up even more emphatically in the Listed Ascendant Stakes over a mile at Haydock seven weeks ago.
A line through the runner-up at Haydock, Medrano, gives the son of Footstepsinthesand plenty to find with Elm Park, but he is being campaigned uncharacteristically aggressively by his trainer Sir Mark Prescott and commands respect on that score alone.
Snoano (12/1), Tupi (16/1) and Cock Of The North (25/1) all appear exposed as just short of the class required to win at the highest level, but Restorer (10/1) stepped up on his previous efforts when third, beaten a length, behind Commemorative in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket two weeks ago.
Restorer may have been slightly underestimated by the bookmakers. The son of Mastercraftsman won over a mile on soft going on his racecourse debut at Ffos Las in August and, granted more of an end-to-end gallop than at Newmarket, he could surprise some better-fancied rivals once again.
It is possible to make a case for a few, but Elm Park has the best form on offer and, with the prospect of further improvement to come, looks decent value at the odds on offer. The booking Andrei Atzeni, who’s two out of three for the yard, is also encouraging. So our Racing Post Trophy betting tips advice is to back Elm Park to win at current best betting odds of 7/4 with Bet365, Betfred, Ladbrokes or William Hill.