Aidan O'Brien's Trophy hopes can be Somewhat spoilt


Click to follow
The Independent Online

The wet ground at Doncaster might be more suitable for jumpers, or even swimmers if it keeps on raining, but those entered for the Racing Post Trophy were signing up for a stamina test and none of the leading contenders in Britain's last Group One race of the season will fail because they run out of puff.

Aidan O'Brien has won this race seven times, including with two horses (High Chaparral and Camelot) who went on to win the Derby and he sends three stoutly-bred youngsters over this time, including Century, ridden by his son Joseph, and so presumably top of the Ballydoyle pecking order.

But although Century, who did not achieve anything out of the ordinary on his debut at the Curragh a fortnight ago, might be a star of the future, there are others in the line-up with stronger credentials on paper.

Kingston Hill, Pinzolo and Chief Barker are also unbeaten and all regarded as possible genuine Classic contenders next year by their connections. But they might all have to give best on this occasion to Somewhat (3.50 Doncaster). Mark Johnston's colt has looked very good, rather than exceptional, while winning two of his five races this year, but a high knee action has always promised better to come once he encounters a testing surface.

Altruistic, trained and ridden by Johnny Murtagh, is an outsider not to be dismissed lightly, but the man with the Midas touch probably has a better chance on an outside ride, Take Cover (3.15 Doncaster), a lightly-raced sprinter who seemed ideally suited by the minimum five furlongs when scoring decisively at York last time.

It is not often renowned French trainer André Fabre sends a horse to these shores, other than for a championship race, so we should perhaps take the hint when Galiway (2.20, Newbury) lines up under Olivier Peslier for the Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury.

Galiway won his maiden at Saint-Cloud with more authority than the narrow margin of victory suggests and may prove too strong for Piping Rock, the pick of Richard Hannon's three runners. This habitual front-runner had classic aspirations in the spring and though it did not work out for him at the highest level, he did display form good enough for this sort of challenge.

This is the time of year when the jumpers begin to take over centre stage and there are good-quality cards at both Chepstow and Aintree, where A P McCoy will be continuing his quest to complete a mind-boggling 4,000 career victories (at the rate he is going, he should make it some time next week).

I fancy him to get off to a winning start with Ifandbutwhynot (1.55 Aintree) for top northern Flat trainer David O'Meara, a link-up which really means business. Ifandbutwhynot, a progressive hurdler with a fine turn of foot, was in excellent form at this time last year and starts this campaign still on an attractive handicap mark.