Something for everyone
This Saturday there is something for all racing fans with a decent card at Doncaster that includes the Group One Racing Post Trophy, while Aintree stages their first jumping fixture of the season with the Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase their highlight.
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If we head to Town Moor first and look at the Racing Post Trophy, a race trainer Aidan O'Brien has won a staggering six times previously and a contest that in recent years has provided us with plenty of clues for the following season's 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby.
High Chaparral, Motivator, Authorized and, most-recently, Camelot have all won this before going onto land the Epsom Derby the following season so you can be sure the horses that run well in Saturday's big race are going to have their odds slashed for that 2014 Classic.
Aidan O'Brien had plenty of entries at the start of the week, so the ones that make the final line-up on Saturday are going to be popular in the betting with Century looking his main hope at this stage.
This well-bred colt won in decent fashion on debut over a mile and looks to be another of the Ballydoyle horses going places with a tall-reputation to fulfil. Looking at his breeding he's sure to improve next season over further too.
Trainer/jockey Johnny Murtagh will be hoping to follow-up his excellent Ascot winner last weekend with Altruistic, but in what's already been a record-breaking season for Richard Hannon can get even better here.
The yard has never won this Group One, but look to have their best chance for some time with TOORMORE. This unbeaten two year-old has won all of his three starts to date, with his latest win over in Ireland the most impressive yet.
Yes, he needs to prove himself again up in trip, but the Hannon horses have been in flying form all season and this can really cap off what's been a great campaign for them.
Off to Aintree next for their Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase - a race that should really whet the appetite for jump fans.
Now in it's 10th year the race is starting to build up some key trends (see below). Trainer Paul Nicholls won the race for the first time 12 months ago with Al Ferof and he'll be pinning his hopes of following up that victory with Edgardo Sol.
This six year-old looks to have plenty more to come and from eight career starts over fences has finished in the top three seven times. He's also won at Aintree over fences, but, for me, does still need to prove himself over a trip this far - all his wins to date have been over a lot shorter.
We'll know more later in the week regarding the final runners, but Alan King has his horses in fine fettle during this early part of the season and his Walkon could be the answer if he lines-up.
He was an excellent second in the Topham here last season, while was also runner-up around this time last year in the Paddy Power Gold Cup - he goes well fresh and will not mind the ground should it get any softer, while despite seemingly being around for ages he's still only 8 years-old. It would be a fitting win for this grey being the race is now named after Monet's Garden - the popular grey won landed this prize three times.
Racing Post Trophy Stats
11/11 - Foaled in February or later
11/11 - Winning distance - 1 ¼ lengths or more
10/11 - Had won either 1 or 2 races before
9/11 - Finished in the top two last time out
9/11 - Foaled in either Feb or March
9/11 - Placed favourites
9/11 - Raced with the last month
8/11 - Winning favourites
7/11 - Had raced at least twice previously
7/11 - Won their last race
6/11 - Ran at either the Curragh (3) or Newmarket (3) last time out
5/11 - Won by an Irish-based yard
4/11 - Won by a Montjeu colt
4/11 - Trained by Aidan O'Brien
3/10 - Went onto win the Epsom Derby
1/11 - Went onto win the 2,000 Guineas
Five winners have gone on to win the following season's Epsom Derby
The Aidan O'Brien stable has won the race 6 times - 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2009 & 2011
Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase Stats
9/9 - Had won over 2m4f previously
8/9 - Having their first run of the season
8/9 - Last ran 6 months+ ago
7/9 - Ran at either Aintree (3) or Cheltenham (4) last time out
7/9 - Had run at Aintree before
6/9 - Won by an Irish bred horse
6/9 - Aged 9 or older
6/9 - Carried 11-1 or less
4/9 - Had won at Aintree before
4/9 - Had an official rating between 165 and 168
3/9 - Trained by Nicky Richards
2/9 - Winning favourites (1 joint)
The average winning SP in the last 9 years is 6/1
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