Ian Heitman with his final assessment of the 2016 crop
The final few weeks of the turf might not have counted towards the trainer and jockey titles but there was still plenty of good quality racing with the final domestic Group One race of the season, the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on October 22nd the most important race.
With Aidan O’Brien in search of another Group One victory to edge closer to Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 in a year, he sent three over from his Ballydoyle base withYUCATAN heading the team and the mount of Ryan Moore. He was sent off the 11/8 favourite with RIVET best of the home challengers at 11/4 for William Haggas and Andrea Atzeni, with David Elsworth’s impressive York scorer SIR DANCEALOT third choice in the betting at 6/1.
Yucatan’s stable companion, THE ANVIL, set the pace against the stands rail with Rivet racing prominently together with maiden winners CONTROPPOSTO and RAHEEN HOUSE. Yucatan raced in touch in midfield but Moore had to push him along with three and a half furlongs to go to get closer to the pace. Rivet, who travelled a lot better here than he had done at Newmarket, took the lead with two and a half furlongs to go and had all of his rivals off the bridle with the exception of Sir Dancealot who made up ground on the outside going easily for newly crowned champion jockey Jim Crowley and it looked as he would be Rivet’s biggest danger with a furlong and a half left to go but his stamina gave way (up from six furlongs to a mile here) and he faded to be sixth. Yucatan found his stride and picked up well under a strong Moore ride but he had no answer to Rivet who stayed on strongly inside the last furlong and won by a length and three quarters from Yucatan with SALOUEN getting placed in Group One company for the second successive race and Raheen House running well in fourth.
Yucatan didn’t quite have the pace here to win and will no doubt be seen to better effect in 2017 over a mile and a quarter with the French Derby his best chance of gaining a classic win.
Rivet provided his trainer William Haggas with a first Racing Post Trophy success, however it was Andrea Atzeni’s fourth successive win in the race (only had four rides in the race) and took his