DONN McCLEAN: You know the type of horse that wins the Racing Post Trophy: future Derby contenders, like High Chaparral, Motivator, Authorized and Camelot. Future Leger winners even, like Brian Boru and Reference Point. But it isn’t always thus.
The Racing Post Trophy is a one-mile race for juveniles, it can be a stamina-test for the youngsters, who are rarely asked to go further than a mile at the top level. But it doesn’t follow that it is stamina rather than speed that wins out. Camelot was a future Derby winner, but he was also a future Guineas winner. American Post was a future French Guineas winner. It’s not always about stamina.
Yucatan has stamina, but he also has pace, and he is a worthy favourite. Aidan O’Brien’s colt finished second to his stable companion – and erstwhile ante post favourite for today’s race – Capri in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his last run, staying on well at the end of that mile. This is his distance, at least for now.
That hypothesis is backed up by his breeding: by Galileo, out of the brilliant miler Six Perfections, whose own sire Celtic Swing is the 1994 Racing Post Trophy winner. This game just continues to weave tangled webs through the generations.
That run in the Beresford Stakes was just the third of Yucatan’s life, and he was allowed go off a 10/1 shot, much bigger than his two stable companions who fought out the finish with him. It is reasonable to expect at least a little improvement, and it is not outlandish to expect a lot, especially now that he is Ballydoyle’s number one for the Racing Post Trophy. He will have Ryan Moore for company too. Aidan O’Brien has been responsible for the Racing Post Trophy winner three times in the last seven years. It’s all positive.
The only negative really is his odds. Yucatan’s potential for progression has been factored in. That is legitimate, of course, but the market may have gone a little too far. On official ratings, he isn’t even the best horse in the race.
Rivet is the highest-rated horse in the race, his rating of 114 leaving him 2lb superior to Yucatan. William Haggas’ colt was an impressive winner of the Convivial maiden at York in August, when he had Contrapposto three lengths behind him in second place. Then, on his next run he stayed on well to win the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting over seven furlongs.
He could only finish fifth in the Dewhurst last time, but he was only beaten a total of three and a half lengths by the winner Churchill, and he shaped as if he would appreciate a step up from that seven-furlong trip.
By Fastnet Rock out of a Galileo mare who won over a mile, there is a strong middle-distance slant to his pedigree, so he should improve for a step up to a mile, and he could run a big race. And he is one for one at the track. He is a player.
Sir Dancealot could represent even better value, however, at around 10.0. David Elsworth’s horse is not obviously a middle-distance candidate for next year, and his best run this year was his latest run in a listed race at York, which was over six furlongs.
He was impressive that day. He came from the rear to win nicely in a race in which it was probably an advantage to race handily. So we know that he has pace.
But he won a maiden auction race at Kempton in August over seven furlongs, and he went back there again in September to run in a conditions race over the same course and distance, and he stayed on to win nicely. Three of the four horses who finished behind him that day have run since, two of them have won and the other has finished second. The race is working out well.
Between then and York, the Sir Prancealot colt finished third in the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket. He was beaten a short head for second by Whitecliffdsofdover, who finished third in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere next time. Back in fourth in the Tattersalls Stakes was Best Solution, who came out and won the Group 3 Autumn Stakes next time. That is strong Group race form.
Of course, this is a step up in class for Sir Dancealot, from a Group 3 race into a Group 1, but he deserves to take his chance in the race. He continues to progress, he has improved with each one of his five races, and he shouldn’t have to improve an awful lot on his Rockingham Stakes win at York for him to get into the mix in the Racing Post Trophy.
David Elsworth has his horses in top form. He has had three winners from just 11 runners in the last two weeks at odds of 6/1 (that was Sir Dancealot in the Rockingham Stakes), 10/1 and 13/2. That gives him a strike rate of 27% and a level stakes profit of £14.50. He had three winners too in September for a level stakes profit of £25.75. And the newly-crowned champion jockey Jim Crowley is on board Sir Dancealot, which is obviously a positive, accentuated by the fact that Crowley is two for four on the colt.
Rivet was tempting at around 6.6, but Sir Dancealot may represent even better value at around 10.0.
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