AIDAN O’BRIEN has whittled his six Racing Post Trophy entries down to one, KINGSBARNS (3.05), and the hint should be taken at Doncaster. It’s difficult to assess fully the merit of Kingsbarns’ seven-length romp on his only start at Navan just over a fortnight ago but clearly the son of Galileo is thought capable of emulating previous Ballydoyle winners Camelot, St Nicolas Abbey, Brian Boru, High Chaparral, Aristotle and Saratoga Springs.
Mark Johnston’s Steeler is an admirably tough sort but may lack the class to match strides with Kingsbarns and another Irish raider, Trading Leather. Jim Bolger’s Teofilo colt beat Richard Hannon’s Montridge in a Group 3 at Newmarket two weeks ago, which gives Hannon a useful guide to the prospects of his unbeaten colt Van der Neer.
Michael Bell has enjoyed a successful week and RUACANA (2.00) should go well at biggish odds in the 1m 4f handicap. The three-year-old, a model of consistency, ran another solid race at Haydock when third to Pallasator on heavy ground. The son of Cape Cross, the mount of in-form stable jockey Hayley Turner, should appreciate less arduous underfoot conditions.
Jim Goldie scored with Jack Dexter (runs in 5f sprint) at Ascot last Saturday, while Hawkeyethenoo hit the bar in the Group 2 sprint, and stablemate Hillview Boy has shown a liking for Town Moor. Hillview Boy finished runner-up in this race 12 months ago, before occupying the same position a fortnight late in the November Handicap. He could go well at an each-way price.
SKILFUL (4.45) was a most expensive failure in the Conditions Stakes at this fixture last year, going down by a short head, but can go one better under Rab Havlin. John Gosden’s four-year-old made virtually all to win a competitive handicap at Ascot (soft) three weeks ago under the same rider.
At Newbury, HARRIS TWEED (2.45) should underline his liking for the track by bagging the St Simon Stakes. William Haggas’ middle-distance star was a beaten favourite on three successive starts earlier in the season but bounced back from a spell in the doldrums by hunting up the Godolphin favourite, Retrieve, at Newmarket last month, showing much of his old sparkle. Sir Henry Cecil’s Noble Mission is a live threat.
SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (3.45) flopped at York’s Ebor meeting when sent off a warm order to land a 10-furlong handicap and is better judged on an earlier impressive Newmarket success. Sir Michael Stoute’s three-year-old remains a horse of some potential and may have the measure of John Gosden’s progressive Lahaag.
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