Saxon Warrior remained unbeaten by winning the 2017 Racing Post Trophy Stakes as the 7⁄5 favorite. The two-year-old colt was challenged down the homestretch by Roaring Lion, who failed to pull off the upset. The victory was a perfect birthday present for co-owner Michael Tabor, who turned 76 years old.
This bitter mile contested at Doncaster, England, saw Coat of Arms (80⁄1) and Theobald (100⁄1) try to take an early lead but it was not for long. The main contenders, led by Saxon Warrior, closed the gap at the halfway point with The Pentagon (5⁄1) and Verbal Dexterity (7⁄2) the apparent challengers to steal the win.
From out of the clouds, however, Roaring Lion descended far along the outside, running a wild and frantic trip that seemed to catch Saxon Warrior off-guard. The two battled down the final lengths, with the threat of Roaring Lion seemingly unearthing the true potential of the Tabor owned product. Saxon Warrior held on for the win at 1:40.12 with Roaring Lion just a length behind, and The Pentagon closing for third.
Though the victory came with a stiffer challenge than what was expected, it notched trainer Aiden O’Brien his record setting 26th win in Grade-I stakes races.
"I’m delighted," O’Brien stated, while noting that his horse, “travelled very strong through it and Ryan gave him a great ride."
American trainer Bobby Frankel held the previous record with 25 wins at the highest level of stakes racing, which he set back in 2003.
O’Brien has a chance to extend his newfound record at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, which takes place on November 3rd and 4th at Del Mar. He has several trainees scattered through the exciting weekend, most notably defending champion Highland Reel in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf and Lancaster Bomber in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Now at 3-0-0 in as many starts, Saxon Warrior has claimed an easy maiden victory, the 2017 Beresford Stakes and now the 2017 Racing Post Trophy. This marks him easily as the favourite to win the 2018 Epsom Derby, which is scheduled for June 2nd, 2018.
Two of the co-leaders of the European Road to the Kentucky Derby series are among the top chances in the one-mile Racing Post Trophy (G1) at Doncaster Oct. 28.
Saxon Warrior (Deep Impact) and Roaring Lion (Kitten’s Joy), co-leaders with the filly Happily in the European Road series, are expected to be among the top fancies for the Racing Post Trophy, which is the last 2-year-old race in the European Road series and the last British group one race of the year.
Saxon Warrior, from the Aidan O’Brien stable, is likely to start favorite after winning both his starts, and earned 10 points towards a Kentucky Derby spot when easily winning the one-mile Beresford Stakes (G2) at Naas.
Roaring Lion (Kitten’s Joy), from the stable of John Gosden, was at one point aiming for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 4, but it now looks like he’ll stay at home. He earned his 10 Kentucky Derby points by winning the one-mile Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket.
Saxon Warrior won’t be the only O’Brien runner, as he is also expected to saddle Tyros Stakes (G3) winner The Pentagon (Galileo), Dewhurst Stakes (G1) third-place finisher Seahenge (Scat Daddy), and the outsider Coat of Arms (Galileo).
The sole group one winner in the field is another Irish colt, Verbal Dexterity (Vocalised). Winner of the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (G1) in September, the Jim Bolger-trained colt was due to contest the Dewhurst Stakes (G1) two weeks ago but missed it after returning an unsatisfactory scope.
Chilean (Iffraaj), who’s won two of his three starts, gives jockey Andrea Atzeni a chance to win the Racing Post Trophy for a fifth consecutive year. Loxley (New Approach), a dead-heat winner despite bad luck at his only start, and Gabr (Intello) are also worthy of consideration.
Though points earned in this race gives the runners a chance of making the Kentucky Derby field, many may be aimed at European Classics instead. Saxon Warrior and The Pentagon currently head the market for the Derby at Epsom.
Three more races conclude the European Road to the Kentucky Derby once the Racing Post Trophy is completed. Each is in March, and each is on an all-weather track: the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at Kempton Park March 1, the Patton Stakes at Dundalk March 2, and the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle March 30.
|0||Saxon Warrior (JPN) 8-5|
|0||Roaring Lion 8-1|
|0||The Pentagon (IRE) 10-1|