Sportsman Racing: Camelot To Fall On Fencing's Sword

Welcome to our latest column from Scott Armstrong of The Sportsman tipster service.

Each Friday, Scott provides us with a rundown of all the best weekend racing action – including the key  horses to follow and those to oppose. You can also find a recap from him each Monday on the SBC Blog with his reaction to the weekend’s events. Thorough, frank and not afraid to take a contrary view, Scott Armstrong is a racing man whose opinion you can’t afford to be without.

Newbury hosts a strong Saturday card, featuring two Group 3 races, the Horris Hill and the St Simon Stakes, while jumps fans have action at Aintree, Chepstow and Stratford. The key contest on the flat is the Racing Post Trophy a race for two-year-old colts and fillies run over a mile at Doncaster. Only six runners line up in this year’s renewal which is a poor return for the final flat Group One of the season in Britain. Reknowned as a stepping stone to the classics the Racing Post Trophy has produced a number of great winners in its 50-year history with three impressive Derby victors in the past decade in the shape of Authorized, High Chaparral and Motivator.

There has been no lack of Irish winners over the last decade in the Racing Post Trophy with Aidan O’Brien landing the event three times in that period. O’Brien trains the favourite this year – Camelot at a best price of 11-8. This son of Monteju is the talking horse of the flat season having cruised home at 1-3 on his one and only course outing at Leopardstown. The form of that race holds very little substance yet Camelot has been all the rage in the Derby market. Camelot will undoubtedly prove progressive but in this game it never pays in the long term to back on the strength of stable whispers. On Timeform figures Aidan O’Briens’s charge has a weight-adjusted rating of 106p which leaves him a lot to find to justify being an 11-8 shot. I like to stake on what I’ve witnessed on the track and to have Camelot as a Derby favourite is nonsense given the little we have seen of him thus far.

Fencing provides a viable alternative. Son of Street Cry, Fencing ran a race of promise on debut when runner-up in a Newmarket maiden, subsequently winning at Newbury with a load in hand. In both outings Fencing has run a shade green and though yet to run over 7f he should handle the step up in trip. It’s significant that the trustworthy Timeform have Fencing 14lb superior to Camelot. With Camelot at prohibitive odds of I’d take him on with Fencing at 3-1.

Of the rest of the field Encke, son of Kingambo is third favourite at odds of 6-1. Godolphin have supplemented Encke for a shot at the massive pot on offer and although he looks an unlikely winner he is not to be completely dismissed having won most impressively in a maiden at Newmarket. Course experience at Doncaster also furthers his appeal. Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has stated Encke is one of Godolphin’s best two-year-olds but that may not be enough.

Zip Top has never stretched himself over 7f before and that is the immediate concern. Another worry is Zip Top’s run in the Anglesey Stakes over six furlongs which was a shocker and he is required to take a big step up to defeat his opponents on Saturday. Jim Bolger is a very shrewd trainer but on all known form it’s hard to see him working the oracle here.

Of more interest is Aidan O’Briens second choice – Learn. Gradually improving on all three starts to date he is a smart juvenile open to further progression. One negative is the fact that Galileo has yet to sire a winner of the Racing Post Trophy.

Talwar is the outsider of the field and very much looks up against things here.

In the 4.45 at Doncaster the Class 3 Conditions stakes , John Gosden’s Skilful, a lightly raced three-year-old with just four career runs looks likely to run well. At Haydock last time out he made all to defeat a very competitive field with complete disregard. That race was over 1m but Skilful has a burst of acceleration and the drop back to 7f should be advantageous.


Scott’s service is one of the many racing and sporting tipsters that we monitor and recommend at the Smart Betting Club.