King for a day?

  • By: Richard Dunwoody
  • Last Updated: October 23 2012, 10:52 BST

It's been a week to remember with two 'Franks' leading the headlines - first up was the fairytale ending to what's been a fantastic career after Frankel made it 14 straight wins in the Champions Stakes on Saturday, while a day later the news broke that Frankie Dettori would be ending his relationship after 18 years as Godolphin's number one jockey.

The Old Roan Chase is now named in honour of Monet's Garden

Yes, Frankel was a true champion last weekend and with the speculation of him returning as a 5 year-old next season now firmly put to rest he can enjoy a well-earned career at stud. The same, despite parting company with the boys in blue, can't be said for Frankie just yet who will continue to ride - but on a freelance basis.

Onto this week and it's another mixture of top flat and jumps action as the leading 2 year-olds around do battle for the Racing Post Trophy on Saturday, while it's off to Aintree for the first time this season with the Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase the feature contest.

Looking at the Racing Post Trophy first and many punters will be asking themselves - are we going to see another Camelot here? Aidan O'Brien's talented colt shot to fame after running away with this race 12 months ago before going onto land the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby the following season, and with Ballydoyle having no fewer than six entered at this stage then everything points to another strong show.

Yes, they all won't run, but Battle Of Marengo, who is the current favourite with most firms, does look a likely runner, while it's interesting that the once-raced Kingsbarns was supplemented for the contest on Monday.

The first-named was last seen running away with the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh last month and that race has been won by three of the last 10 Racing Post Trophy winners, including St Nicholas Abbey and Brian Boru from the Aidan O'Brien yard.

In fact, Ballydoyle have landed this prize a staggering six times in all and with the yard in fantastic form and the fact they've got another strong hand this year then it will be a brave man to back against them making it seven.

Other key stats to look out for are that 80% of the last 10 winners were foaled in either February or March, while with this race throwing up three future Derby winners in the last 10 years then it could also pay to take a look at the ante-post betting for the 2013 Epsom contest.

If you like your stats then finishing in the top two last time out is another advantage, while having won just once or twice before is also a positive.

Ballydoyle won't have it all their own way though. Richard Hannon's unbeaten (two-from-two) Van Der Neer is another that was supplemented for the race on Monday and did look very impressive when winning at Leicester last week - he fits plenty of key trends and will have the champion flat jockey elect, Richard Hughes, on his back. While the others that will be out to upset the O'Brien applecart are the ultra-tough Steeler, who we last saw winning the Royal Lodge at HQ, and Trading Leather, from the Jim Bolger team, who often do well with their raiders to these shores.

That said, I think that it's significant that Kingsbarns has been supplemented this week and although Van Der Neer also looks interesting for the same reason the Ballydoyle team know what it takes to land this race and the fact they've had to pay to get the once-raced Kingsbarns in the race is good enough for me.

Onto the jumps and this weekend sees the first meeting at Aintree with the newly-named Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase the highlight - named in honour of Nicky Richards' famous grey who made this race his own by winning it in 2007, 2009 & 2010.

Other superstars like Kauto Star and Albertas Run have won this race too and although it's unlikely we are going to see anything right out of the top chasing draw running on Saturday Paul Nicholls' Poquelin is still entered, while it might be fitting if another popular grey took the prize as Tom George's 11 year-old Nacarat is one that could also take his chance.

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