The Racing Post Trophy is the final Group One race of the flat season run in Britain and, restricted to two-year-olds, it is often a major trial for next year’s Classics. Five subsequent winners have gone on to win the Epsom Derby and last year’s victor, Camelot, won both the 2000 Guineas and the Derby before falling just short in the St Leger.
Aidan O’Brien is the trainer to follow in this contest having landed the race six times since 1997, including two of the last three. He saddles the favourite this year, Kingsbarns, who has a similar profile to Camelot, a once-raced winning maiden stepping straight into Group One company. However, O’Brien has not won a single two-year-old race in Britain this year.
Five of the last ten winners had previously won over the mile trip which is a positive for the three horses heading the market – Kingsbarns, Trading Leather and Steeler.
Seven of the ten favourites since 2002 have won. Three favourites won as unbeaten horses. Only Kingsbarns and Van Der Neer are unbeaten so far.
Richard Hannon is regarded as the leading handler of two-year-olds but has never won this race. He saddles Van Der Neer.
Irish challengers have won the last three renewals and First Cornerstone, Trading Leather and Kingsbarns will bid to extend that run.
Doncaster plays host to the last Classic of the season on Saturday, the one-mile-six-and-a-half furlong St Leger, which is the oldest of the three British Classics.
Not since Njinsky in 1970 has a horse completed the English Triple Crown – the 2000 Guineas, the Derby and the St Leger. Aidan O’Brien’s Camelot will attempt to do that but the last favourite to win the race was in 2006.
Jockey Frankie Dettori has won the race five times. He rides Michelangelo.
In the last 20 years Saeed Bin Suroor has won the race five times, John Gosden four times and Aidan O’Brien three times. Bin Suroor doesn’t have a runner this year but the Godolphin operation are still represented by Encke.
Gosden has won the last two renewals of this race - both partnered by William Buick - and the duo are represented by Thought Worthy. Michelangelo and pacemaker Dartford are the other Gosden runners.
Placed horses in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, the traditional St Leger trial, have a better record in the Leger than those that actually won the race. Main Sequence, Encke and Thomas Chippendale will all seek to reverse form with Thought Worthy.
Only three of the last ten winners of the Leger had not won over at least 12 furlongs. Encke and Dartford haven’t won at that distance.
The Racing Post Trophy is one of the key trials for next year's Derby and Aidan O'Brien's Camelot is already at the head of that market prior to his run at Doncaster.
He has only won a maiden, but has been well supported all week and could be one of the stable's superstars. O'Brien has won the race five times, the last being the hugely impressive performance of St Nicholas Abbey.
John Gosden has yet to win this Group One contest, but he always been a huge admirer of Fencing and has been waiting for a bit of cut in the ground. He deliberately skipped the Dewhurst and this son of Street Cry was an impressive winner at Newbury last time.
The last winner of this race to go on to Epsom glory was Authorized in 2006 - and he was a 25/1 shot at Donny. However, favourites have won the last two renewals and there will be plenty of punters following Camelot in blind on Saturday.
Overturn was a hugely impressive winner of last year's Northumberland Plate and he will be back to defend his crown this weekend, but this time with promising claimer Henry Brooke in the saddle. Donald McCain’s gutsy seven-year-old managed to win 12 months ago, despite being drawn in the car park and his draw in stall two will suit his front running style perfectly.
However, only one of the last ten winners carried nine stone or more and he must lug 9st5lb around Gosforth Park (Brooke takes off 5lb). Activate has been the ante-post favourite all week, but has now lengthened in the betting due to picking up stall 18. That is certainly no advantage, but it’s worth bearing in mind that three of the last five winners were housed in double figure stalls.
The Plate hasn’t been the best race for favourites in the past decade with only one winning market leader and eight of those winners were 10/1 or bigger.
The Irish Derby takes place at the Curragh on Sunday and the Queen’s Carlton House will be trying to become the first English-trained horse to win since Balanchine in 1994. However, Aidan O’Brien is the man to follow in this event, as he has won the last five and a record eight in total. Both Treasure Beach and Seville therefore need to be closely considered.