Kingsbarns can topple Trophy rivals
Nic Doggett's horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
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Won two of his first three starts but both were in small fields at provincial tracks and has failed to win since in better company, although he has been far from disgraced in four starts at Group Two level. Pedigree not chocked full of stamina and unlikely he'll improve massively for this test, despite being happy on soft ground.
Followed an eyecatching debut at Down Royal with a 33/1 victory in a Tipperary Listed race and then landed a four runner renewal of the Futurity Stakes. That not the strongest race for the grade (Birdman in third) and will have to improve to win this, however he's on an upward curve and will relish the testing conditions; pedigree suggests the trip will suit too.
Not from as illustrious a family as many in the yard, but must have been showing plenty at home to be sent off at 4/11 on his debut at Navan. Looks a big baby, and made his debut at a very late stage of the season, but interesting that connections have decided to supplement him for this race. Trainer and jockey combo won this race last year.
Sir Patrick Moore
Hits the traps like a greyhound but has been unable to keep up the early speed in recent assignments on the continent, most recently when beaten three lengths in a Deauville Listed contest. Ability to act on this ground in his favour, but looks a tad short in terms of class so unlikely to spring a shock here.
By a very promising sire (Raven's Pass) and has shown a fine level of consistency, winning three times and finishing second in five starts to date, including glory in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket last month. Has had plenty of time to get over that hard race and looks the type to keep improving over this trip and further (dam a Park Hill winner). Question mark over the ground however.
Got a clearer run through than runner-up Montiridge when landing the Autumn Stakes but deserved the win and is another who has developed a liking for the winning feeling. Yet to race on ground this soft and must be some concerns about the going, as his sire preferred it quicker and that has so far applied to his best progeny as well.
Van Der Neer
Jockey Richard Hughes has always liked this son of Dutch Art and easy to see why connections are heading to this race following his easy Leicester win, albeit in modest company. Plenty of speed in his pedigree but shapes as if this trip will be just about within range and not hard to predict a bold run, although trainer has a poor record in this race (0-4 in the last decade, albeit including two rank outsiders).
Neither Jim Bolger or Richard Hannon, two of the top trainers of two-year-olds, has really patronised this race over the last decade so it's interesting to see them represented here by Trading Leather and Van Der Neer respectively.
Bolger's runner looks a fine Derby prospect, and this race has been a good pointer over the years, however the soft ground is a worry, whilst Hannon's charge will go on the ground but there must be some doubt over the suitability of a (stamina sapping) mile given his pedigree.
Instead the call is to side with KINGSBARNS who was only supplemented for this race after his maiden win at Navan. That wasn't a great contest, but like last-year's winner (and stablemate) Camelot who won his maiden at 1/3, his very short odds suggest that his homework had been of a very high standard.
The son of Galileo looked green on his debut but that race should have taught him plenty and perhaps the most telling factor could be in the absence of one horse. Stablemate Battle Of Marengo was expected to run in this race (ante-post favourite) but was taken out at the declaration stage; he beat Trading Leather at Leopardstown last month so Aidan O'Brien should know where he stands.
Mark Johnston's Steeler is the best of his sire's first crop by some way and his trainer feels there is more to come, however this race has a history of going to lightly-raced classy types; the selection fits the bill.