The G1 Racing Post Trophy (Doncaster, Saturday October 28th, 4:00pm) is one of the richest and most-important races for juveniles of the season. Some winners of this 1-mile encounter have become superstars, while others have failed to deliver on their early promise. We are going to take a look at the last 10 champions, to see how matters have panned-out for them. Were they hits or misses?
2007 – Ibn Khaldun (USA)
Foaled: February 14th, 2005
Sex: Chestnut Horse
Breeding: Dubai Destination (USA) – Gossamer (Sadler’s Wells (USA))
Trainer: S bin Suroor
This Dubai Destination-sired horse won on his 2nd appearance, in a 7f maiden at Leicester, before going on to beat Richard Hannon’s Redolent by a length in the Autumn Stakes. He was expected to cross the Atlantic and contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, at Monmouth Park, but connections eventually decided that Ibn Khaldun might not yet be ready to take such a long trip and so he was sent to Doncaster.
He was slightly hampered, at the start, but soon settled down and eventually drew away to win the Racing Post Trophy comfortably (by 3 lengths, despite drifting right). A rating of 117 was awarded, but it proved to be the last encounter he would win.
10th place, in the 2000 Guineas fell a long way below expectations and a full 2 years off the track followed. A brace of poor performances, at Meydan, brought his career to a close.
2008 – Crowded House
Foaled: March 22nd, 2006
Sex: Chestnut Horse
Breeding: Rainbow Quest (USA) – Wiener Wald (USA) (Woodman (USA))
Trainer: B Meehan
Crowded House also won on his 2nd time out, shedding his maiden tag in a one-mile polytrack race at Kempton. The valuable Tattersalls Timeform Million at Newmarket was the next target, but he was unable to hold-off the late challenge of Donativum, who would triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf three weeks later.
It was still an impressive performance and he went into the Doncaster stalls as a 7/1 3rd-favourite. As expected, Jamie Spencer held Brian Meehan’s charge up at the rear of the field and waited for the final 2 furlongs before making his bid. Still lacking experience, Crowded House veered left and impeded both Jukebox Jury and Skanky Biscuit but the best horse clearly won the race and no action was taken.
Many more battles lay ahead of him, but sadly no further appearances in the winners enclosure. Failures in both the Dante Stakes and the Epsom Derby (where the Rainbow Quest-sired horse was somewhat unfortunate, hitting trouble in-running when making headway) were the only rewards for endeavors in his Classic campaign and he continued to frustrate, as a 4-year-old. A trio of Meydan encounters accounted for his 5-year-old season and he was sent-off in the last of these as a 33/1 shot (tailed-in last of 14 runners).
Despite not living-up to his earlier work, Crowded House was still sent to stand as a breeding stallion in Australia.
2009 – St Nicholas Abbey (IRE)
Foaled: April 13th, 2007
Sex: Bay Horse
Breeding: Montjeu – Leaping Water (Sure Blade)
Trainer: A P O’Brien
This Coolmore horse was named after a Jacobean plantation house in Barbados and won readily, on debut at the Curragh. Victory in the Beresford Stakes suddenly made him an 8/1 favourite for the Epsom Derby and at Doncaster he was sent-off at 13/8 (top of the market).
His victory was only by three quarters of a length, with the barely-remembered Elusive Pimpernel claiming the runner-up spot, but St Nicholas Abbey looked to have plenty in hand and his Derby odds were further cut to 3/1. He was named Cartier European Champion Two-year-old colt and rated at 124.
Much was expected from his 3-year-old campaign, but it was not a success. Aidan O’Brien sent him out just once and he finished a disappointing 6th, in the 2000 Guineas. Many wrote him off, but O’Brien was not among them and the brilliant Irish trainer was proven right. Over the next 3 seasons, St Nicholas Abbey won the Ormonde Stakes (2011), the Coronation Cup (2011, 2012, 2013), the Breeders’ Cup Turf (2011) and the Dubai Sheema Classic (2013).
2013 brought injury problems, however. A fractured pastern led to surgery, which was purely to save him as a stud horse. While in intensive care, he contracted colic and this required another operation. St Nicholas Abbey survived until January of 2014, when further complications arose and he was sadly euthanised.
2010 – Casamento (IRE)
Foaled: March 20th, 2008
Sex: Chestnut Colt
Breeding: Shamardal (USA) – Wedding Gift (FR) (Always Fair (USA))
Trainer: M Halford
Sheikh Mohammed bought Casamento as a foal, for the hammer-price of €54,000, then sent him to Michael Halford’s yard at Kildagan. His first 3 outings were in Ireland. 2 were victorious, including his run in the Beresford Stakes where Mawaakef was comfortably beaten by 4 lengths. The defeat came in the National Stakes, prior to that contest and Casamento finished just a head behind Pathfork.
Frankie Dettori was booked for the Racing Post Trophy and the partnership was strongly-fancied. Seville proved very game, but was beaten by three quarters of a length. Following the victory, Halford said “It was a great performance and it all went like clockwork. He was idling in front a bit, but Frankie was always happy with him. He keeps finding and was only doing what he had to do”.
Sheikh Mohammed then transferred Casamento to the care of Mahmood Al Zarooni. He was outclassed in both the 2000 Guineas (won by Frankel, with Casamento finishing 10th) and the Prix du Jockey Club, which led to a 3-month break. He returned to the track, at Longchamp, recording an impressive triumph against older horses in the Prix du Prince d’Orange. Connections couldn’t resist another tilt at a truly elite race, but Casamento again failed to deliver in the Champion Stakes and was retired as a 3-year-old.
He has since stood at Dalham Hall Stud and early signs are reasonably promising. Both Paiardina and Stamp Collecting have become Listed winners and combined progeny prize-money already exceeds £1,000,000.
Verdict: Jury’s Out
2011 – Camelot
Foaled: March 5th, 2009
Sex: Bay Colt
Breeding: Montjeu – Tarfah (Kingmambo)
Trainer: A P O’Brien
Camelot began his first race (Leopardstown) at odds of 1/3, which is hardly surprising given that Coolmore paid well-over half a million pounds for him as a yearling. He won the race with ease and was immediately made favourite for the Derby.
The Racing Post Trophy was his 2nd and final outing, as a 2-year-old. Jim Bolger’s Zip Top was comfortably beaten and Camelot’s odds on winning Epsom’s most famous race (already skinny) were cut to just 3/1.
Much was expected of him, as a 3-year-old and the Montjeu-sired colt certainly delivered. The 2000 Guineas, plus both the English Derby and Irish Derby were taken in Camelot’s stride. This encouraged trainer Aidan O’Brien to go for the Triple Crown. Winning it is regarded as an almost impossible task, in modern-day racing and Camelot did indeed fall short (despite being sent-off as the 2/5 favourite, for the St Leger – the final leg of the Triple Crown). Most believe he would have succeeded, with a clearer run, but the road to this elusive honour is littered with hard-luck stories. The great Nijinsky was the last Triple Crown-winner, way back in 1970.
A crack at the St Leger was always likely to take its toll and Camelot looked a spent force when contesting the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. Finishing 7th, in Europe’s most-prestigious encounter, is nothing to be sniffed at but Camelot at no point looked a potential victor and less-able runners finished ahead of him.
His 4-year-old season was not so memorable, although he did win the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh. Camelot is now a breeding stallion and the success of Fighting Irish (trained by Harry Dunlop and now a G2 champion) augurs well.
2012 – Kingsbarns (IRE)
Foaled: February 20th, 2010
Sex: Bay Colt
Breeding: Galileo – Beltisaal (Belmez)
Trainer: A P O’Brien
This Aidan O’Brien-trained horse didn’t debut until October, but impressed observers by thrashing Risk Return by 7 lengths at Navan. This led to him being supplemented for the Doncaster race, which was a surprise to many as Kingsbarns would only have 17 days to recover.
This did not prevent a massive gamble on the Galileo-sired colt and his odds were slashed from 8/1 to 15/8 favourite. As at Navan, Aidan’s son Joseph was given steering-duties and he needed to do little more than shake Kingsbarns up at the 1f pole to win comfortably from Richard Hannon’s Van Der Neer. The soon-to-be Irish Derby-winner, Trading Leather, was back in 5th.
Many fancied him to win the 2013 English Guineas, but a foot infection led to him not making his reappearance until September and connections must have been disappointed with what they saw. Kingsbarns cantered home in last place and by a huge distance, in the Irish Champion Stakes (won by The Fugue). 3rd in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes gave his many fans hope that he could rediscover his 2-year-old form, but it was not to be. He competed in 4 more races, the last of which was another tilt at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (2014). Kingbarns weakened so badly, in the final furlong, few who watched the race needed convincing any further that the sun had set on his racing career.
2013 – Kingston Hill
Foaled: January 15th, 2011
Sex: Grey Colt
Breeding: Mastercraftsman (IRE) – Audacieuse (Rainbow Quest (USA))
Trainer: R Varian
Roger Varian’s inmate was immaculate, during his 2-year-old campaign, winning all 3 of his races. A degree of greenness was shown on debut, at Newbury, but that wasn’t enough to prevent odds-on favourite Exchequer being beaten with relative ease. The Autumn Stakes, at Headquarters, was the scene of Kingston Hill’s next success. Andrea Atzeni held him up at the rear of the field, before overcoming the heavily-backed Oklahoma City in the final furlong.
Atzeni was again booked for the big race at Doncaster, with Kingston Hill going-off as a relatively weak favourite. Pinzolo and Century were expected to go very close, but both trailed-in at the back of the field and were never a threat. Kingston Hill won comfortably, with Johann Strauss almost 5 lengths behind. He was then named as the 2013 Cartier Champion 2-year-old Colt.
His Classic campaign did not begin well. 8th in the 2000 Guineas was disappointing, although Kingston Hill was running-on at the business-end of the race. Sure enough, he performed much better in the Epsom Derby where only Australia finished ahead of the Mastercraftsman-sired colt. He then came 4th in the Eclipse, when up against older horses and again showed terrific levels of stamina – staying-on to beat the likes of The Fugue and War Command, in an encounter that was won by William Haggas’ Mukhadram.
Kingston Hill was sent back to Doncaster, for the St Leger, despite the ground being a lot firmer than Varian would have hoped for. The horse took the 14 furlongs on his stride, beating John Gosden’s Romsdal and giving the trainer his first and only win in the oldest English Classic. His final 3-year-old race was the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, at Longchamp. 4th place was an outstanding achievement, given that Kingston Hill began the race as a 25/1 outsider.
Injury prevented him from competing as a 4-year-old and he is now standing, at the Coolmore Stud.
2014 – Elm Park
Foaled: January 23rd, 2012
Sex: Bay Colt
Breeding: Phoenix Reach (IRE) – Lady Brora (Dashing Blade)
Trainer: A M Balding
This Phoenix-Reach-sired colt was certainly kept bust by Andrew Balding, as a juvenile. Elm Park made his debut at Sandown, coming 3rd, before losing maiden status at Newbury following a convincing victory over Constable Buckley. He was installed as favourite for the Listed Stonehenge Stakes (Salisbury) and made all. Elm Park’s first really big test came at Newmarket, where he proved too good for the highly-regarded Nafaqa despite edging left.
The Racing Post Trophy was his 5th and final outing and most expected a titanic battle, between Elm Park and Aidan O’Brien’s Jacobean. As they approached the final furlong, Jacobean was well-positioned but simply couldn’t live with the pace once Andrea Atzeni pushed the button on Elm Park. Balding picked-up his first-ever victory, in this race and his thoughts turned to the 2000 Guineas.
Sadly, for Balding, the ground at Headquarters was too firm and the horse was withdrawn. Elm Park competed in a very-strong renewal of the Dante Stakes, featuring both Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs. Elm Park finished 3rd, behind these two titans and once again beat Nafaa – this time by a full 13-lengths.
He was sent-off as a 9/1 shot, for the Epsom Derby, but keenness put paid to the slim chance he ever had of winning the UK’s most-important flat race and only Success Days got a view of his hind-quarters as Elm Park went past the winning-post. Balding then massively dropped his charge in class and few were surprised when Gabrial was beaten, in the Fortune Stakes at Sandown. A return to G1 action did not bear fruit, although 5th place in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes was no disgrace, particularly with the likes of Gleneagles, Territories and Kodi Bear finishing in arrears.
He has not raced since then, but the good news is that Elm Park is now approaching full-fitness again and it may not be long before we see him go into a set of stalls.
“Elm Park is back in training but we are just having to go softly with him. He had a tendon injury at the beginning of last season when he was working brilliantly. Hopefully, we will get him back at some stage this autumn.” said Balding in September.
Verdict: Jury’s Out
2015 – Marcel (IRE)
Foaled: March 25th, 2013
Sex: Bay Colt
Breeding: Lawman (FR) – Mauresmo (IRE) (Marju (IRE))
Trainer: P W Chapple-Hyam
The Lawman-sired colt was bought for €50,000 as a foal and just 26,000 guineas as a yearling, before entering the ownership of Paul Hancock and being sent into training with Peter Chapple-Hyam. These figures do not indicate any great deal of faith and a lukewarm debut at Ascot (5th in a fairly-weak maiden) did little to attract much initial interest in Marcel’s career. Marcel then competed in another maiden at Newcastle and more than justified joint-favourite status by winning with plenty to spare.
Still, his entrance into the big race at Doncaster looked very ambitious and bookmakers certainly felt that way – he began the race as the 33/1 rank-outsider. Marcel went into the stalls alongside the likes of Deauville, Johannes Vermeer and John Gosden’s Foundation – a trio of top juveniles that had all achieved a great deal more, already, in their short careers. In one of the biggest shocks of the year, Andrea Atzeni partnered Marcel to victory, With Johannes Vermeer back in 2nd place. Many left Doncaster scratching their heads.
Marcel went-off as 8/1 3rd favourite, but trailed-in last of 13 and just one place the 2015 Dewhurst Stakes-winner Air Force Blue (4/5 favourite). Galileo Gold proved to be a worthy winner, but most racing fans remain puzzled at how both the Dewhurst and Racing Post Trophy form proved so misleading that afternoon.
Australian owner Paul Makin then bought Marcel and he has since said that the horse picked-up an injury in the Dip, during the Guineas. Marcel has not raced since his ill-fated appearance in the opening English Classic and it is believed that Makin now plans to employ him as a sire! All underwhelming colts, with a G1 entry, should take note as the keys to the harem-door may be just one race away!
2016 – Rivet (IRE)
Foaled: April 3rd, 2014
Sex: Bay Colt
Breeding: Fastnet Rock (AUS) – Starship (IRE) (Galileo (IRE))
Trainer: W J Haggas
Rivet made a relatively late debut, finishing runner-up to Richard Hannon’s Eqtiraan in a Plus 10 maiden, at Ascot. He was slowly into stride and hampered, at the start, but stayed-on well despite looking very green. Few ere surprised when he followed this performance with a commanding victory at York, next time out, although once again he looked a very rough diamond. William Haggas then sent him to Doncaster, for the Champagne Stakes and his narrow victory over Thunder Snow showed a much-greater degree of composure. However, he was keen again in the Dewhurst and paid the price – finishing a well-beaten 5th, in a race won by the mighty Churchill.
He returned to Doncaster, for the big race in October, in which Aidan O’Brien’s Yucatan would start as favourite. Rivet made all and connections must have been wishing that their investment was able to run every race, at the South Yorkshire venue, as the Fastnet Rock-sired colt looked totally at home. Atzeni was the winning jockey, for the fourth consecutive year.
He has failed to win as a 3-year-old though and was beaten by Eminent in the Craven Stakes (both Benbatl and War Decree were further back in the field). Rivet finished 3rd in the Essai Poulains (Deauville), but looked out of sorts in both the Prix Du Jockey Club (Chantilly) and the St James’s Palace Stakes. All 4 races were very tough, however and there may be more to come from this one.
Verdict: Jury’s Out
As we can see, it’s extremely difficult to predict the future, of juveniles that win this prestigious race. However, the triumphs of St Nicholas Abbey, Camelot and Kingston Hill indicate that there is a significant chance that the winner of Saturday’s renewal will prove to be something quite special. Make sure that you tune into ITV Racing, so you can watch the action live!
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