Kingsbarns romps to Racing Post Trophy
Report: Doncaster, Saturday
Racing Post Trophy (Group 1) 1m, 2yo entire colts & fillies
ONCE again the Racing Post Trophy has thrown up the ante-post favourite for the Investec Derby, with Kingsbarns sitting atop all lists after a one and three-quarter length victory at Doncaster.
Paddy Power and Coral were impressed with the victory, going 4-1 (from 12 and 8 respectively) for the Derby. William Hill went 6-1 (from 10), while BetVictor fell between the two at 5-1 (from 10).
And intriguingly Ladbrokes, who had been shortest about Kingsbarns for the Racing Post Trophy, are industry best-price for the Derby at 8-1 while Stan James are the shortest at 3-1. He has also been inserted as the second favourite for the 2,000 Guineas with Ladbrokes again a standout 8-1.
The once-raced maiden winner travelled well at Doncaster before slowly pulling clear of the staying on Van Der Neer and the tenacious Steeler, who was a further short head behind, to land the last British Group 1 of the year on only his second start.
Settled in mid-division by Joseph O'Brien, who remained stationary long after all those around him were working hard, Kingsbarns travelled powerfully but couldn't deliver the same electric burst of acceleration that stablemate Camelot displayed last year.
Instead, when O'Brien went for his mount it had only limited effect. He put a short but significant distance between himself and Steeler, while Van Der Neer - the first to come under pressure - stayed on close home having found the rail for the company he was looking for.
It could have been that the inexperienced winner was just idling in front and Richard Hughes, who rode the runner-up, said: "I followed the leader all the way and at the two-pole he left me three lengths."
Mark Johnston, the trainer of Steeler, added: "The winner's come past him very easily."
The O'Brien father-son team were delighted with the victory. Joseph said: "I think this is going to be a very good horse."
Aidan O'Brien: 'he's very good'PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
O'Brien senior added: "He has an unbelievable cruise. He won his maiden very easily then we were kind of intent on leaving him alone for the year. We then gave him one little bit of work and he was very fresh after."
Adding that Kingsbarns had passed the Trophy test with "flying colours", O'Brien said: "All the data on him and all his figures stacked up very good but you never know until they go and do it. "
The runner-up ran an odd sort of race, appearing one of the first beat and then staying on close home despite question marks before the race as to whether he'd truly stay the mile.
Hughes explained: "Surprisingly he struggled on the ground. He was off the bridle for most of the race and I thought I was on the quickest horse and would be going best. He was struggling with that ground and in the end hung right with me. In the end he got rolling, he's run a good race."
On Steeler, Johnston added: "He's run a very big race, you can't argue with that. We're used to cutting out the pace like that but at the same time Kieren said it wasn't ideal.
"He was drawn into a battle a furlong and a half out and we might have hung on for second if that hadn't been the case. We can't have any complaints. It was a fairly run race and a very good race. I would imagine he will join Godolphin so the decisions about next year will be theirs."