epsom dERBY FAVOURITE Foundation remains on course to step up to Group One company in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster later this month.
After winning his maiden and a Listed contest at Haydock, the John Gosden-trained colt made it three wins in as many outings when claiming the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket last time.
Having raced exclusively over a mile in all of his starts to date, plans are in place to keep him over that trip on Town Moor on October 24.
Harry Herbert, racing manager to owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “The Racing Post Trophy is the plan as long as the ground isn’t firm, which it shouldn’t be at that time of year.
“The last time I heard from John, he was in great form and was happy with him.”
Following his victory in the Group Two contest on the Rowley Mile, Foundation, who counts Sir Alex Ferguson as one of his owners, was made favourite for next year’s Investec Derby at Epsom, with the son of Zoffany a top-priced 16-1 with Ladbrokes.
Although heading the ante-post market for the premier Classic in June, Herbert has warned the trip may be an issue.
He said: “John Gosden and Frankie Dettori, after riding him last time, said he would stay further, but he is not short of speed.
“On his pedigree though, you would say that a mile and a half might be stretching him a bit, but it is horse racing so it is hard to predict.
“I think we will have to see what happens in the Racing Post Trophy and go from there.”
Foundation is as short as 10-1 to bag next year’s Derby Sporting Bet though some firms have the Aidan O’Brien trained Deauville as joint favourite at around the 14-1 mark.
The Andrew Fabre-trained Ultra, an unbeaten colt who was won three out of three, is next in the list ahead of Dewhurst flop Emotionless.
Elm Park headed the ante-post Derby list after his victory in last year’s Racing Post Trophy and trainer Andrew Balding is looking forward to seeing the three-year-old take his chance on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
Elm Park is expected to feature in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile, although he is also still entered in the 10-furlong Champion Stakes.
Last year’s Racing Post Trophy hero has endured mixed fortunes this term, finishing a creditable third in the Dante before trailing home a disappointing 11th on quick ground in the Derby.
Elm Park returned to action after his Classic disappointment when winning a Sandown Listed race last month and Balding expects conditions to suit this weekend.
Balding said: “I am really pleased with the way he is working and I think he will run a big race. He looked back to his best.
“He is in fine form. I am looking forward to seeing him going again with a bit of give in the ground.”