Unbeaten Kingston Hill (2c Mastercraftsman-Audacieuse, by Rainbow Quest) looked a superstar when running away with the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday in the colours of owner Paul Smith.
The Roger Varian-trained colt won a Newbury maiden on his debut before landing the G3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket earlier in October, prompting connections to supplement him for the Racing Post Trophy at a cost of £17,500.
It proved to be money well spent as the Mastercraftsman colt triumphed by four and a half lengths from Johann Strauss (2c High Chaparral-Inchmina, by Cape Cross) under Andrea Atzeni.
Bookmakers rate Kingston Hill an 8/1 chance to win next season’s G1 2,000 Guineas and a 7/1 shot for the 2014 G1 Derby.
“We were looking forward to what improvement there was from him and he’s the first colt to win a Group 1 for us. It’s been fillies before,” Varian told PA Sport.
“He’s always looked good and been a good mover. If you look at him, he’s a great model. We have so many horses who can do special things at home but disappoint on the track. He looked good at home, but I tend to sit on the fence and be pessimistic.
“Until they do it on the track I won’t hype a horse up. We thought he might make his debut earlier, but the horses weren’t right in August. What is encouraging is what he’s done in six weeks and he has the shape to be better next year.
“We’ll have to see how he winters and what he’s like in the spring. People have said is he a 10-furlong, mile-and-a-half horse, but he has the pace for a mile and travels so well.
“He has good acceleration and will be in everything. We’ll have a good eye on the Guineas. Whether he runs before or goes straight there or bypasses the Guineas we’ll have to wait and see.”
Winning owner Paul Smith added: “I’m quite overwhelmed. He seemed to travel so well and picked up so well on that ground.”
Kingston Hill, who was bred by Ridgecourt Stud, completed a Group-race double for the unstoppable Mastercraftsman. The leading first-season sire had also been represented by Craftsman (2c Mastercraftsman-Weekend Fling, by Forest Wildcat), winner of the G3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown earlier on Saturday the afternoon.
Mastercraftsman has another live 2014 classic contender in Sir Robert Ogden’s home-bred G3 Prestige Stakes heroine Amazing Maria (2f Mastercraftsman-Messias Da Silva, by Tale Of The Cat), trained by Ed Dunlop.