Ante-post clues aplenty with Elm Park leading the way

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As the flat season went out with a bang, there was still time for one juvenile to introduce himself to next year’s Classic markets with some vigour.

Sent off favourite for the final Group 1 of the season, Elm Park took the proverbial bull by the horns, running out a smart start-to-finish winner of the Racing Post Trophy.

Andrew Balding’s colt absolutely galloped them into the ground at Doncaster and even looked to be idling late on, so how much more there is to come from the son of Phoenix Reach is open to question.

His trainer commented after his win that “any horse that wins that race is automatically considered a Derby prospect and I see no reason not to treat him as such”.

Bookmakers agreed to an extent, Ladbrokes inserting the victor into the market for the 1m4f contest at Epsom next June at a price of 14/1.

But it wasn’t just ante-post clues on the flat that were in abundance this weekend, as some top class National Hunt racing took place.

Backed as if defeat wasn’t an option Sausalito Sunrise obliged on his chasing debut at 4/6, when running out a very nice winner at Chepstow. Last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle sixth has always looked a chaser in the making and could be a big part of Philip Hobbs’ success this campaign.

He was introduced to the market for next year’s RSA Chase at the Festival at a price of 16/1 after that win at a course that boasts a similarly stiff finish to that at Cheltenham.

It was just one of a couple of highlights for owner Diana Whately who also had Wishfull Thinking turn back the years to land the Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

Before racing had commenced at Chepstow, champion trainer Paul Nicholls worked a number of his stable stars at the Monmouthshire track.

Speaking to the press he spoke of how last year’s King George VI Chase winner Silviniaco Conti would go for the Charlie Hall Chase next weekend as a preparation for the Betfair Chase en route to Kempton as he bids to defend his crown, for which he is a 4/1 shot.

The Ditcheat handler spoke of how his popular chestnut “saves his best form for flat tracks”, perhaps hinting that he would be a better bet for the Christmas showpiece rather than taking a piece of the 8/1 that he pops up to land the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.