Racing Post Trophy PreviewPublished October 24, 2017
Hydrangea’s victory in Saturday’s Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot provided Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien with his 25th Grade/Group 1 of the year, equalling the record set by US legend Bobby Frankel and with several races at the highest level to aim at over the next few weeks it is more a question of when rather than if the master of Ballydoyle enters the record books as the outright owner of this remarkable achievement.
Being responsible for twelve of the twenty two horses entered for Saturday’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, including the two joint ante-post favourites for the 2018 Investec Derby, O’Brien will be a short price to break the record on Town Moor in a race he has won on seven occasions. Speaking at Leopardstown on Sunday, O’Brien said: “ We’ll have runners in the Racing Post Trophy and the plan is to run both The Pentagon and Saxon Warrior, and probably a few others.”
The Pentagon and Saxon Warrior are quoted at 10-1 with bet365 for Epsom next June following the former’s victory in the Tyros Stakes back in June, while the latter ran out a most impressive winner of the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at Naas last month. Add to those two promising colt’s the likes of a potential Ballydoyle second wave in Delano Roosevelt, Kew Gardens, Nelson, Mendelssohn and Seahenge and it is easy to see O’Brien approaching the Group 1 with all guns blazing.
Despite the strength of the Ballydoyle battalion this is unlikely to prove a forgone conclusion for the Irish wizzard and the one capable of spoiling the party on Saturday is the Jim Bolger-trained Verbal Dexterity. The son of Vocalised arguably boasts the best form in the race due to his comprehensive victory in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh last month with several O’Brien rivals well behind.
"He's the complete package, he has everything" – looks like the Dewhurst next for Jim Bolger's National Stakes winner Verbal Dexterity… pic.twitter.com/t6oLnl5QWZ— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) September 11, 2017
Further easing in the current good to soft conditions will not inconvenience Verbal Dexterity who should relish the extra furlong of the one mile contest and looks the one to beat, providing Bolger with his first win in the race established in 1961 and responsible for four Derby winners so far this century. Of the rest the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion could prove the best.