One of the big two year old races of the year, the Racing Post Trophy takes place at Doncaster tomorrow. I preview and provide my tips for the race. If you want my best daily tips then check out my Premium Advisory Service. The Racing Post winner has often provided us with a future top staying 3 year old. This century alone, High Chaparral, Motivator, Authorized and Camelot have all won this race, before winning the following years Epsom Derby. This years renewal looks short on top prospects, but one of the lightly raced types could yet step up. The going at Doncaster today was soft, and with some more rain forecast it will be a decent test for 2 year old’s tomorrow.
Aidan O’Brien has won this for the past two years, both times with horses coming here after one run, and one win in a maiden. With that in mind Century deserves respect here. He only made his debut at the Curragh less than 2 weeks ago, and started 11/4 that day so wasn’t exactly hyped up like Kingsbarns and Camelot were when they made their debut. Kingsbarns was similar to Century though, only making his debut about 2 weeks before this race. On the bare form of his 1 1/2l win that day, Century has no chance tomorrow. He quickened well enough to get into contention, but it was nothing spectacular, the 3rd horse was off the bridle, and 1/2l behind him 2 furlongs down, and finished just 4l behind. Given the 3rd horse was only staying on, and likely slowing down at that, it was a good performance by the winner, but didn’t scream, Group 1 winner in two weeks at you. The soft ground would also have to be a concern. I thought 8/1 would better reflect his chance, than the current top price of just 4/1.
Kingston Hill is joint favourite with Century in most lists, but has much more chance in my view. After winning a Newbury maiden on soft on his debut, he proved victorious in a group 3 at Newmarket last time. A 2l win over Oklahoma City is nothing spectacular but he did it nicely. Travelling best held up before staying on strongly. He will likely need to improve on that form to win tomorrow, but given the amount he improved from his first to second start, that is entirely possible, and you’d be disappointed if he doesn’t go very close. He stays the trip strongly, and will go on the ground. I made him a 3/1 shot.
Pinzolo is the other horse in the battle for favouritism, and like Kingston Hill, he’s unbeaten after two starts. Last time he won a conditions race at Newbury, doing well to get up after being repeatedly denied a run. The bare form would look a good way short of G1 standard though, and while he was value for extra, he will need to come on a good bit again. I thought 13/2 was about right for him, so 4/1 looks short.
Somewhat has some solid efforts to his name, but he’s also been beaten in 3 of his last 4 starts and if he wins tomorrow, it will probably be because the others aren’t up to much, rather than him being a really top 2 year old. Having finished 4th, and 2nd at Ascot and Newmarket respectively, he ran out a 4 1/2l winner in a listed race at Newbury. The 2nd horse that day was making his debut though, and looked set to give him far more of a race until fading close home. Last time Somewhat ran Berkshire to a neck, which was a lot closer than he got to that rival at Ascot.
The form is not as good as a line through the winner would seem, the 3rd horse had 5 previous runs, and was rated just 83 going into the race, having been only 4th off 84 in his previous start. The official handicapper took a positive view of the form, raising the 3rd to a mark of 106. I think that’s crazy, he looked pretty exposed, so a 22lb rise for coming 3rd of 5 is taken a hugely optimistic view. Sometimes when a horse finishes close up against much higher rated rivals they are flattered by a slow pace, but that isn’t the case here, as if they did go slow, then it makes the 3rd an unlucky loser, as he was closing the first two down to the line. I think the most logical conclusion is he showed improved form, but not 22lb improved, and the first two ran below their best. It all means Somewhat has a good bit to prove tomorrow, and while he hits the ground quite hard, and as such a bit of cut should be okay, I’m far from sure he wants it soft. I thought 8/1 was about right for him, which is what he is at the moment.
Chief Barker is unbeaten in 3 starts, wining his maiden, a nursery off just 77, and a listed race at Haydock. The Haydock form appeared to be franked when the 2nd, Chriselliam won the fillies mile on her next start. I’m sure you will have some analysts claim that it’s a very strong piece of form, and gives Chief Barker a great chance tomorrow. He has a chance all right, but I think he will need to improve plenty on that run. The 2nd travelled like easily the best horse at Haydock, but kicked on too soon and didn’t get home. I’ve heard claims that Chief Barker found more when passed, and won with a bit on hand. That’s totally wrong, and you only need to compare the winner to the 3rd to see why. When Chriselliam kicked on, Chief Barker was about 1 1/2l ahead of the 3rd, which is exactly how far he beat him by. He didn’t pick up again as some suggested, but rather the 2nd was used up too soon, and faded. The fact she showed the most speed in a slowly run Fillies Mile next time wasn’t that big a surprise, and doesn’t make me think any more of Chief Barker. The 3rd horse Lily Rules was rated just 90 after 7 starts, and while Chief Barker will likely enjoy a good test at a mile, he does need to progress. His odds of 9/1 look fair enough though. I actually made him 13/2.
Johann Strauss got a shocking ride first time out, not asked any question until it was far too late. He then started 2/7 for a maiden last time but couldn’t quite reel in the all the way winner Sniper. The winner was rated 96 before the race, having run in two G1’s already. He came last in both, but at least one of those was truly run so he looked like a 90 horse to me. The fact Johann Strauss couldn’t beat him shows how much he needs to improve to win this, and while he is clearly highly regarded and it could be the soft ground was against him the last day. If that was the case he isn’t going to like the going tomorrow either. I thought 18/1 sounded about right for him.
Snow Sky won a Salisbury maiden by 11l on soft ground last time, but he started at 7/2 for what looked a poor maiden. That suggests his connections thought he was a long way short of even listed class, and while he won very well, it’s likely he beat some pretty poor rivals, who may not have acted on the ground. He will go on the ground tomorrow but would need a big step forward to win. I made him a 22/1 shot.
Altruistic won his maiden first time out, but had no excuses when beaten in a Curragh G2 last time. He finished behind Oklahoma City, the horse Kingston Hill comfortably beat subsequently, and he also got a hard ride. It was still a step up on his first run though, and if he was to come on as much again he would have a chance here. I thought 12/1 was about right, so the 18/1 available would make some appeal.
Buonarroti bolted up in a Tipperary maiden on his 2nd start, winning by almost 9l. He was pushed along from 3 furlongs out though, and it was more of a staying performance. The trip was 9 furlongs too, and while there won’t be many stronger stayers in tomorrows race, you would imagine he won’t be fast enough for this. His current top price of 16/1 looks about right to me.
The Grey Gatsby was readily brushed aside by Outstrip at Doncaster and that one got beaten next time in the Dewhurst. The horse directly behind The Grey Gatsby that day was Cable Bay and he went on to finish ahead of Outstrip in the Dewhurst, finishing 2nd to War Command, so there are two ways of viewing the value of that run. I think it was a good effort, but he would need to find a good bit more to win tomorrow. He has been steadily progressive so far, and must have a chance of finding enough to give him a chance. I’d have him shorter than the 20/1 he is.
I think Kingston Hill is the most likely winner of this, and the 4/1 with