10/24/2013 2:35PM

Europe: O'Brien saddles three bid for Racing Post Trophy three-peat


Somewhat is the most accomplished horse among 11 entrants in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy Stakes on Saturday at Doncaster in England, but that does not mean he has a discernible edge in the one-mile race for 2-year-olds.

Somewhat, a Dynaformer colt trained by Mark Johnston, has two wins and two seconds from five starts this year, and it’s the runner-up finishes that mark him as more distinguished – so far, at least – than his rivals. In July, he finished second in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes going seven furlongs at Newmarket, and in late September he was a close second at Newmarket in the Group 2 Royal Lodge.

But five starts this year suggests two things: First, that Somewhat has dipped deeper into his talent pool than most of his rivals in the Racing Post Trophy, and second, that he might not have much chance to move forward after that much racing.

The alternatives, however, are many, including three horses – Buonarroti, Century, and Johann Strauss – trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has won the last two runnings of the Racing Post Trophy. Chief Barker has won the first three starts of his career, though his trainer, Richard Hannon, was set to run favored Toormore in this spot before soft course conditions precipitated a change of plans. Pinzolo, a German-bred Godolphin Racing colt trained by Charlie Appleby, also brings an unblemished record into the race, having won his first two starts, both of the Racing Post Trophy’s one-mile distance.

Gentildonna preps for Japan Cup

Gentildonna, the 2012 Japanese Horse of the Year, makes her third start of 2013 in Sunday’s $2,824,157 Tenno Sho at Tokyo Racecourse, a key prep for the Japan Cup on Nov. 24.

The winner of the 2012 Japan Cup, Gentildonna was second in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March and third in the Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin Racecourse on June 23. The loss at Hanshin ended plans to send Gentildonna to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris in October.

Regular jockey Yasunari Iwata has the mount on Gentildonna in the Tenno Sho, which drew a field of 17 and is run at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

The field includes three recent Grade 2 winners in Japan – Hit the Target, Tokei Halo, and Eishin Flash.

–additional reporting by Steve Andersen