by David Massey

January 29, 2021

Good morning all,

Cheltenham, as expected, has bitten the dust but Doncaster has a good card and luckily enough, I have a spot reserved, so I’ll be going today. I realise how lucky I am to get any racing at all, but a day like today makes it even more special. I’ll report back next Friday. 

Thanks to those of you that joined me on the Colossus yesterday, we pretty much nailed the card and won a nice few quid, so we’re playing with their money today! Isthebaropen also hit sixth and got a bit of the e/w extra money too – if that’s not in your tracker, it should be…

On to today then – here’s hoping for more of the same.

2.05 Doncaster – Yorkshire Rose Mares Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m½f 

Two of the front three in the have a question over them as far as this ground goes. Floressa’s best form has all come on ground no worse than good to soft, and ran her worst race on soft at the Festival. Marie’s Rock has won of soft, but she was disappointing on her comeback at Newbury (behind Floressa) and now gets the works with the headgear, with the hood and tongue tie going on after wind surgery. Miranda acts okay on soft, and probably has the best form in the race on the ground, and her chances look a bit more solid. 

Rayna’s World needs to improve her overall form, but at least she’ll act on the ground. Irish Roe’s Donny record reads 1122322 (although she was disqualified from second last year after a banned substance was found) and although she’s generally thought of as a good ground horse, her record on soft is fine, including her 2018 second in this. I’m thinking that combo forecasts with Miranda, Rayna’s World and Irish Roe to small stakes might be the way to play. 

2.40 Doncaster – River Don Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m½f

This has the look of an open race, and I wouldn’t want to be too certain of anything. Improving novices in what could be desperate ground requires some restraint…

Top of my shortlist is Pat’s Fancy, who went off a 33-1 chance for the Bristol Novices Hurdle off the back of his Ffos Las win in November but the form of that win has worked out okay, with second home Gladiateur Allen winning a decent novice contest at Ascot last weekend, so it no longer looks the surprise it did at the time. He stayed on all the way to the line to finish second at Cheltenham to Make Good, and looks a proper stayer. And if you’re winning in Ffos Las heavy ground, then Doncaster soft is going to feel like good to firm in comparison. 7-1 looks a very fair each-way price. (Update – long gone…)

Ashtown Lad was a strong fancy for that race from me, but he didn’t run his race and was well held. His Uttoxeter win previously looks solid form, and again shows the ground holds no fears, so you only need forgive one poor effort and he’s bang there. 

Flash Collonges, perhaps unsurprisingly (dam a half-sister to Neptune Collonges) looks like he has stamina as his long suit and despite greenness, still won easily at Warwick earlier in the month. I just wonder whether the yard are firing on all cylinders at present, and his form to date isn’t as good as one or two others, but he has to be respected all the same. 

Those looking for something at a huge price need look no further than Portstorm, who showed a lot of promise when second to the classy Escaria Ten (a 33-1 chance for the Festival Chase and 22s for the Kim Muir) at Ayr a year ago, and came back from an absence to win pretty much as he liked over a slightly shorter trip back there in December. He travels well, acts on the ground, stays well, and should have more to offer. 

3.15 – Skybet Handicap Chase (3m) 

I think I ought to say that Cap Du Nord could win this easily if his latest form is to be believed. Second to Royal Pagaille at Kempton last month, with Double Shuffle well held in third, that form has twice been franked and a 6lb rise for it is fully justified. I can find two negatives, though – the ground, with his best form arguably coming on better, and the form of the yard, with too many running well below their marks for comfort. That makes him easy to swerve at 5-2, and I’d expect him to drift. 

The ground is also a major worry for the likes of last month’s C&D winner Rocky’s Treasure, The Butcher Said and One For The Team, although the last named might get away with it. Aye Right looks high enough in the handicap and Mister Malarkey hails from a yard who continue to underperform. 

The green and gold look to have a strong hand here. Canelo has ground to make up on Cap Du Nord on their Newbury running but was a narrow winner of the Rowland Meyrick last time, form that looks solid. He’s been given another 6lb for that but handles the ground and has to be considered. But it’s the second string, Musical Slave, that tops my shortlist. 

He progressed steadily throughout 2020 and came back from an absence to run a cracker at Newbury on ground too quick and a trip too short, beaten just 3½l. His best performance over fences to date came over 3m on heavy ground at Uttoxeter last March, so conditions will be fine, and after just six chase starts, remains unexposed. He’s at the right end of the handicap, the yard are going better after a poor winter, and all in all there are plenty of positives for the price. 

Today’s selection – Portstorm (each way Skybet, 5 places) 2.40 Doncaster

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Good luck with all your bets today,


Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

David Massey

David Massey is an on course bookmakers clerk, a Sporting Life race card author, a horse racing punter and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt

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