Doncaster Friday

Good morning all,

Thanks for all the messages yesterday – good to hear some of you got on The Great Heir at 66s and even those that had to make do with 33s have been rewarded with a good priced winner!

So we're playing with the bookies' money this week now, always a good thing and I've once again had a look at the TV races on ITV4 to try and come up with another juicy-priced winner.

I'll be at Sandown today though, so will be following the action from there. 

1.50 – Sceptre Stakes (7f)

Laugh Aloud would be the one to beat on last season’s form, where she looked a very progressive individual but she was absent for some time before reappearing at Sandown in the G3 Atalanta Stakes. She ran okay there, no better than that, and you can easily argue that as she’d been disappointing on her first start the year before, then she was entitled to need it. But for me she’s a little to prove now, and the drop back to 7f might not be ideal either.

In truth the more I look through this race the less I like it as a betting race. I did look at Hence, with the Ballydoyle runners going much better now, as the quick turnaround is the interesting point, but surely 7f is on the short side for her, unless the ground slows up dramatically.

If you forced me into a fiver each way on something then maybe my old friend Eirene might be the one. She did Punt readers a massive favour at Newbury last year and on that form, should be about the same price as Anna Nerium, but she’s clearly had her issues this year. A confidence booster at Chelmsford last time will have done her good and 7f on slowish ground should be ideal. Back against her own sex here, she could be the value.

2.25 – Flying Childers (5f)

There’s one I like a lot here and that’s the fast-improving Shumooki, who was very unlucky at Vichy two starts back (reared in the stalls, still only beaten less than a length) but made no mistake at Newbury last time, showing loads of speed and finding plenty for pressure to go clear in the final furlong. For all this is a fast race, there’s not too many that will want the front (maybe Deia Glory) and I can see her making all from stall 6. The ground looks ideal and 8-1 looks more than fair.

3.00 – Mallard Handicap (1m6f)

Tricky handicap and cases can be made for plenty. Not hard to see Austrian School being well backed as he looks very likely to try and make all the running, and this slight drop back in trip will probably be in his favour, but he’s yet to win in this class and he may be more of a back-to-lay on the exchanges than an outright win bet.

At huge prices I’ll take two each-way stabs – On To Victory, who looked a stayer to follow last year. It’s not really happened for him this season but he’s been highly tried a couple of times and maybe the ground has been a bit quick for him on a couple of others. This looks more suitable and he dropped a hint at Goodwood last time that he still retains his ability. And Time To Study, who appears to be the Johnston second string, has some awful looking form figures but he’s 1-1 over C&D, the handicapper is dropping him chunks and he wouldn’t be the first Johnston horse to bounce back after a handful of shocking runs now, would he? I shall back them both with Skybet, paying 4 places.

3.35 – Doncaster Cup (2m)

This is actually quite winnable and surely represents a chance for Sheikhzayadroad to get back on the winning trail. His record at Doncaster reads 113, and that of course includes a win and a third in this race, and although he’s clearly not yet hit top form this year, even a repeat of his Gold Cup sixth takes him close here. This has probably been the target all along and for me, if he’s back to anything like his best, he’ll win this.

Mullins runs three and Thomas Hobson looks the best of them, having finished second in this (with Sheikhzayadroad a head away third, may have beaten him had he been ridden slightly differently and not hung) last year. I get the case for him but there should be nothing in the betting between the two, yet Sheikhzayadroad is almost 2 points bigger.

The dead eight would open up e/w betting opportunities but I’m struggling to find one I like. So just the win bet it is.

Today's selection – Shumooki 2.25 Doncaster

Good luck with all your bets today,

David.

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