High-calibre colt Kingston Hill has Classic credentials

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KINGSTON Hill became the latest horse to look a real Classic candidate in winning the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

Held in the highest regard by his Newmarket trainer Roger Varian, the handler and owner Paul Smith took the decision to supplement the unbeaten colt at a cost of £17,500 earlier in the week. That faith was rewarded with a most impressive success. Racing in mid-division through the early stages, he was asked to quicken well over a furlong out by Andrea Atzeni and the response was quite immediate.

The Mastercraftsman colt lengthened to stretch emphatically clear in the closing stages, beating Johann Strauss by four and a half lengths as the 7-2 favourite.

Altruistic was third for trainer-jockey Johnny Murtagh, but the well-fancied Century was one of the first one of the market principals to be beaten. Italian-born Atzeni, a rising star of the weighing room, said: “He’s a dream horse to ride really, he settles and is so laid-back. He’s a top-class horse and he’s definitely the best I’ve been on so far.”

Varian, who is finishing the season strongly having seen his stable hampered by a virus, said: “We were looking forward to what improvement there was from him and he’s the first colt to win to win a Group One for us. It’s been fillies before. He’s always looked good and been a good mover. If you look at him, he’s a great model.”

Ladbrokes cut Kingston Hill to 8-1 from 20s for the 2000 Guineas, while Paddy Power went 10-1 about his chance in the Guineas and Derby.

David Williams for Ladbrokes said: “Kingston Hill confirmed his reputation as a genuine first-rate colt but we’re happy to keep our counsel regarding Epsom dreams for the time being. We see him more of a Guineas horse given his breeding and smart turn of foot.”