Coolmore and partners’ Kingsbarns went from debut maiden winner to early favorite for next year’s Epsom Derby (Eng-I) with a convincing 1 3/4-length victory over Van Der Neer in the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I), Great Britain’s final top-level race of the season Oct. 27 at Doncaster.
The Galileo colt came into the one-mile race following a visually impressive seven-length romp in his career debut Oct. 10 at Navan and easily handled the huge step up in class. He smartly rallied from mid-pack to lead seize the lead from group II winner Steeler more than a furlong out and comfortably held back Van Der Neer, who outbattled Steeler to take second by a short head.
"He has an unbelievable cruise,” trainer Aidan O’Brien told Racing Post afterward. “He won his maiden very easily then we were kind of intent on leaving him alone for the year. We then gave him one little bit of work and he was very fresh after."
Kingsbarns completed the trip on soft turf in 1:40.32 as the 15-to-8 favorite under O’Brien’s son Joseph, once again giving winning owners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith the early favorite for the 2013 Derby.
Winners of the Racing Post Trophy have continued on to win the next season’s Derby four times since 2001, including last year’s winner Camelot. The Montjeu colt closed from last to win by 2 1/4 lengths for the same connections before capturing the 2012 QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and Derby. Camelot just missed sweeping the English Triple Crown when a heartbreaking second in the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) in September at Doncaster.
Following Kingsbarns’ Racing Post Trophy win, bookmakers Paddy Power and Coral cut his odds to 4-to-1 to win the 2013 Derby while William Hill posted him at 6-to-1 and Ladbrokes at 8-to-1.
Both Kingsbarns and Saeed Manana’s previously unbeaten Van Der Neer were supplemented to the Racing Post Trophy at cost of $28,202 each. Runner-up Van Der Neer struggled on the testing ground and raced off the bridle for most of the race, jockey Richard Hughes said.
Kingsbarns, who was bred in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien’s wife, Ann-Marie, is one of three stakes winners out of the Belmez mare Beltisaal, including Sweeter Still, winner of the 2008 Senorita Stakes (group-III) at Hollywood Park.