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PA Preview: Racing Post Trophy

Saturday’s Racing Post Trophy should be one of the most intriguing races of this year’s calendar, writes David Rusk.

Last year the Racing Post Trophy was won by Kingston Hill, who has gone on to be a very impressive horse. He finished fourth in the Prix de L’arc de Triomphe, ahead of super horses including the Japanese speedster, Just A Way.

This year’s line-up looks rather fascinating. Last year only eleven turned up for it. Out of the contenders, only one has actually ran at Doncaster before. This was Cock of the North, trained by Scott Dixon. He won a Class 4 race there on his debut. He defeated Escalating that time out. He is likely to go off at huge odds for this race and realistically this field could prove to be much too competitive for him. Having said that, he cannot be totally written off.

Another interesting stat is, that out of the field – three horses remain unbeaten when travelling the distance. They include: Celestial Path, trained by Mark Prescott; Snoano, trained by John Gosden; and finally, Elm Park, the favourite, who is trained by Andrew Balding. I feel that one of these horses should be too strong for Aidan O’Brien’s challengers.

The Irish have a very strong contingent in the race. They include, Royal Navy Ship and Giovanni Canaletto. These horses are interesting in their own individual way. The fact that Aidan O’Brien has chosen to enter two horses in the race conveys his ambition to win the trophy. Royal Navy Ship is an incredibly captivating horse. He defeated Jacobean, who was never on terms with him, on his last time out. Nonetheless, it was only his debut and there seemed to be more to come from O’Brien’s best chance, in my opinion.

Giovanni Canatello looked like a smart prospect, but he doesn’t seem to have the power that his brother (Ruler of the World) possessed. A poor debut casts a lot of doubt in my mind. He was third in a humble field and he surely should have a bit more to offer. He is one to watch for this time.

Restorer, trained by William Muir is interesting also. He will need another career best after a terrific performance at Newmarket. He finished second behind Commemorative in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes. Another improvement could see him finish in the money.

The remaining horses are, Tupi trained by Richard Hannon, and ridden by presumably Sean Levey, and Best Of Times, trained by Saeed bin Suroor. Tupi doesn’t seem capable of battling with the likes of Elm Park, and Royal Navy Ship. A career best could see him take them on. Yet, after a terrible performance at Salisbury, where he was dominated by Elm Park by eight lengths, may have proved he is not be the Group 1 star they first thought of. Lastly, Best Of Times, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, has been very progressive in Class 4 races. He is pretty much an unknown and perhaps on his day he could be too powerful, yet I am not quite sure that he’s up to Group 1 standard.


I think the race is going to be a real close battle. Royal Navy Ship is such a mesmerizing character. Unfortunately, I do not think he will win. I can see Elm Park and Celestial Path battling for the major spoils. Celestial Path looks like a great horse, and Luke Morris looks like he has already developed a wonderful partnership with him. He won by four lengths last time amongst listed company, and he’s beginning to show some promise.

The one for me has to be Elm Park. He just seems like a class apart. Last year the favourite won this race, and I can see it happening again this year. (Unless Royal Navy Ship is backed into Favourite by then.) He has spread-eagled horses that are running in the race already, and I don’t see why he will be unable to do so again. He won a Group 2 last time out and this form can only improve. He will be one of the main horses to follow next year and there’s plenty of reason for that.

Selection: ELM PARK      

Danger: Celestial Path.

David Rusk, Pundit Arena.

Follow on Twitter @Davidrusk7

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.