Twelve months after the destructive performance of Camelot, Aidan O'Brien reaped the rewards of a Racing Post Trophy victory yet again, after his two year old son of Galileo, Kingsbarns, sealed the final British Group 1 of the season with a decisive turn of foot to acquire O'Brien's seventh victory in the race. Supplemented into the race on Monday at a cost of £17,500, Kingsbarns tracked the pace setting duo of Trading Leather and Steeler through the early stages of the race, both of whom had recently been victorious with stylish victories at Newmarket's Future Champions Day. However, with two furlongs to go, it was clear to many that Kingsbarns was travelling ominously well with Joseph O' Brien just waiting to pounce on his rivals. With a minimum of urging, Kingsbarns hit the front and instantaneously stretched to a two length lead. However, the inexperienced two year old then began to idle in front, showing signs of greenness and not extending his lead. Despite his inexperience, Kingsbarns comfortably held his two length lead over his rivals, with very little coming out of the park to challenge, and despite the late thrust along the inside rail by Richard Hughes aboard Van Der Neer, Kingsbarns finished on top with a one-and-three-quarter length margin of victory.
"We probably hit the front too soon and he has looked about a bit in front" said Joseph O'Brien, who was winning the race for the second succesive year, "He's very green but he'll have no problems on any ground next year. Soft or quick ground, neither will be a problem for him"
Despite many opinions from British racing pundits noting soon after the race that Kingsbarns' stride could cause him significant problems when faced with a test such as that posed by Epsom Racecourse and the Derby, British bookmakers were quick to install Kingsbarns as the new futures betting favourite for the 2013 Epsom Derby, installed as the new 4/1 favourite.
"He has an unbelievable cruising speed" said O'Brien Snr, "He won his maiden very easily then we were really intent on leaving him alone for the year but he was very fresh after a recent piece of work. We'll put him away for the Winter and see what comes next year".
O'Brien looks to have an embarrassment of riches for next years' renewal of the Epsom Derby with Battle of Mawengo, who was scratched from the Racing Post Trophy just days earlier, and the highly touted Mars, both looking to play a big part within the Classic generation next season.
Mark Johnston, trainer of the third-placed Steeler, confirmed that it was likely his two year old son of Raven's Pass would be likely to join Godolphin next season. Steeler, the winner of the Royal Lodge Stakes last time out, already has 10 Kentucky Derby Points. A tilt at the UAE Derby, which would provide the winner with 100 Kentucky Derby points and, almost certainly assure the winner of a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby, looks a likely target if Steeler were to form part of the Godolphin team in Dubai this winter.
Photo Courtesy of Emma-Louise Kerwin (Goodtosoft.co.uk)