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Doncaster Selection

Morning all,

It’s Tuesday so it must be tracker time. Well, it almost wasn’t. It was quiet week on the tracker/eyecatcher front for yours truly and I’m offering up just two today. This means I have the time to have a look at a few of today’s races at Doncaster and Exeter.

I wrote about Constitution Hill’s win in the Tolworth Hurdle and Nicky Henderson stranglehold in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in yesterday’s column.  I did forget the claims of last season’s Champion Bumper winner Sir Gerhard. The Willie Mullins trained 7-year-old only won a novice hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas. However, he couldn’t have been much more impressive for a hurdle debutant. He’s an exciting prospect and will likely go up in class for his next starts at the Dublin Racing Festival. He will surely land a Grade 1 novice hurdle this year and does look a worthy rival to the Henderson pair of Constitution Hill & Jonbon.  

Add in another possible Mullins wild card contender in the shape of El Fabiolo who won a Tramore maiden hurdle on New Year’s Day and it’s a race to get excited about.

Tracker Time

The first of this week’s tracker horses ran at Ffos Las on Wednesday.


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Alkopop – Toby Lawes

Alkopop twice a winner on heavy ground, over hurdles, in Jan/Feb 2021. The 8-year-old had run well for a long way on his chase debut/seasonal reappearance before falling two out at Wetherby last month. Well backed before Steadily progressive in handicap hurdles last season and capable of progressive over fences. the race (9/4 fav). He got a good confidence booster when a rallying 5-length 2nd of 10 to Fairlawn Flyer. Steadily progressive in handicap hurdle last season. He’s capable of more progression over fences.

Hermes Bay – Jane Williams

Hermes Bay came into Saturday’s handicap hurdle that concluded Sandown’s Tolworth Hurdle card. The one runner capable of further upside. He looked a big improver when winning an 18-runner novice hurdle at Exeter (soft) last time.  Making his handicap hurdle debut off what looks a workable mark of 124 he looked a worthy favourite. However, his trainer Jane Williams had expressed concerns about the 5-year-old on heavy ground. Those concerns were confirmed as he could only finish a 7 ¾ length 4th of 8 to Hydroplane.  I think he will prove that his handicap mark is a winnable one in the coming weeks, on less testing ground.

Tuesday Racing

There are decent looking jumps cards at Exeter and Doncaster this afternoon. Plus, there’s a tea-time fixture on the all-weather at Southwell. The best-looking race at the latter track is the Class 3 Sky Bet Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (1:40).

Doncaster

1:40 – Sam Barton won a maiden hurdle race here (soft) in February. Looking like a nice chasing prospect last season.  He hasn’t done well on either start over fences in the autumn but has had wind surgery since disappointing at Market Rasen in November. Capable of better and this could be the day it all comes right for him over the larger obstacles.

At the prices though he doesn’t offer as much value as Our Power. The 7-year-old got off the mark over fences at the second attempt at Wincanton last month. He showed a good attitude to hold off Jacamar on the run-in.  The runner-up has gone onto win at Kempton over Christmas so the form looks solid enough. That Wincanton success came on good ground but he had form on soft ground over hurdles.

Granted Our Power doesn’t have the scope of a Sam Barton over the fences. But he has the form in the book that should make him shorter than that one here.  

I like the shape of the Exeter’s eight race card. There are plenty of competitive, if moderate handicaps. The going is heavy at the Devon track so it probably won’t make for the best of viewing.

Exeter

2:30 – A Class 3 handicap chase and the best race on the Exeter card. Morning Spirit heads the early betting after his recent 1 ¾ length 2nd of 17 over C&D last month. He’s in form and if in the same form as last time he’s the one to beat.

Musical Slave takes a drop-in class for his first start since May and looks to be starting the season on a good handicap mark. However, he’s had a wind op since his last run and his jumping has tended to let him down in the past. If he can cut out the mistakes he can win. 

Classic Ben is another who’s dropped down to a good mark. However, he’s not won since February 2019 and better could have been expected when well beaten on his seasonal reappearance here when well behind Morning Spirit. Best run did come over C&D on his seasonal return last season when 2nd of 18.

3:05 – Lightonthewing races on heavy ground for the first time since winning at Wincanton in February, off 3lb lower. Has been down the field on both starts this season but those runs came on good & good to soft ground. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the pre-race betting given he’s on a good-looking mark.

3:35 – Galactic Power looks an interesting one here. He ended last season with a couple of solid placed efforts at Huntingdon and Taunton. Granted he’s 12-year-old now and hasn’t won since February 2018 but he’s on a competitive mark and first time up could be the time to catch him.

Tuesday selection:

I’m off to Doncaster for today’s selection.

Doncaster

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

1:40 – Our Power – 5/1.

Good luck with your Tuesday bets.

John

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