Casamento took the lead two furlongs from home and shook off the late challenge of Seville to win the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) at Doncaster Oct. 23.
The victory gave trainer Michael Halford the first group I victory in his career, which has begun to blossom since being named as one of six Ireland-based trainers for Sheikh Mohammed late last year.
Casamento, who was supplemented to the race by his connections earlier in the week, was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 10. Racing in Sheikh Mohammed’s maroon and white colors under Frankie Dettori, Casamento was settled just off the early leader, Dubawi Gold.
Dubawi Gold showed the way through the first half of the race while the majority of the field ran as a group out in the center of the course. The lone runner on the stands’ side was Seville, who was traveling strongly under jockey Colm O’Donoghue.
As the field hit the two-furlong marker, Casamento took command and opened up a brief lead while lugging slightly to the right. Seville came with a late rush along the rail to challenge the leader, but Casamento had plenty left to hold him off, crossing the wire three-quarters of a length in front.
Master Of Hounds got up for third, another two lengths further back. The final time for the one-mile contest, which was the last group I race of the season in England, was 1:37.03 over a course listed as good.
Casamento will now be sent to Dubai, where he will join the main Godolphin team and be prepared for a tilt at the 2011 classics.
A delighted Halford said he has no regrets about losing his star colt, telling reporters after the race, “There was never any problem with that. It was always going to be the case and we were so lucky to get him. I’m so grateful to Sheikh Mohammed for sending me the horse in the first place.”
Casamento entered the race off of a victory in the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes (Ire-II) and has now improved his record to three wins from four starts. His only loss was a strong second-place finish to Pathfork in the boylesports.com Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Ire-I) on Sept. 11.
Casamento was bred in Ireland by D. and J. Cantillon and C. and K. Canning. The chestnut colt is by Shamardal and is out of the stakes winning Always Fair mare, Wedding Gift.