Good morning all,
The start of the Flat season at Doncaster today, and also a good card at Newbury, although those of you playing at Newbury be aware that there was 6mm of rain yesterday and overnight, and it won't be anywhere near as quick as was thought in the week.
I've taken a look at the big handicaps at Doncaster and two races at Newbury, here's hoping for a winner or two. Bit unlucky with The Navigator yesterday, brought down late when just getting into it, so let's hope for better luck today.
2.35 Doncaster – Spring Mile
With the ground on the quick side, it may pay to stick with those proven when the ground is on the faster side of good, and you don’t have to look far in the market to find one that stands out as having a very solid chance.
In fact, I think I’d have Artistic Rifles just about favourite here, as from stall 21 this front-runner that loves quick ground is going to have a rail to run against, is twice a winner from three starts at the track, three times a winner at the trip and shaped very nicely after his winter break when third at Newcastle, beaten 1½l after travelling well and looking a big threat before getting a bit tired late. That should put him spot on for this and I’ll be very disappointed if he can’t go close.
For the back-up, I’ll take Queens Sargent, who goes well on quick ground, likes this track and has always gone well fresh – record of 133 after a 100+ day break, which has to be a plus. If there’s a concern it’s that he’s not won over a mile but in the interests of balance he’s done everything but, having won over Beverley’s stiff 7½f and beaten half a length over a mile at Thirsk last June. The last 100yds are obviously a concern but he’s got the front-runners Mostawaa and Dawaaleeb both drawn nearby to give him a tow into the race, and he’ll have his chance.
3.10 Doncaster – Lincoln
The first thing you notice when you look at the Lincoln as a race is the lack of pace among the low/middle numbers, with only Johan looking likely to go forward. Johan has a bit of class to go with his big weight but he did win first time up last year and a straight mile will suit, so he’s not discounted, but it’ll be a good effort if he can hold them all off.
Dashing Roger, drawn up the near rail in 22, looks the certain leader high and at 50-1 you can fathom some sort of case out for him, given he’s proven at the trip and on quick ground, although whether he’s the class for this is a moot point. Nevertheless, you could get some excitement for your money for a long way, and with extra places on offer, he could hold on long enough to fill one of those.
History Writer got a second look as a well handicapped one on old form andn Brunch can be given a chance on the best of his form of last year but in the end I settled on two, Man Of The Night and Danyah.
The former has the stamina for this and a bit more, having gone close over 10f, and being drawn high he’ll have Dashing Roger to give him a tow in. He shaped better than the bare result on his reappearance at Wolverhampton, beaten 2l after getting no run late on, and that, after a eight-month absence should put him spot on for this.
Danyah won over 7f here on his reappearance last year and continued to progress throughout the season, having beaten the useful handicapper Alternative Fact on his final start. There’s plenty of scope for him to improve again this year and as long as his low-ish draw isn't too much of a negative, he’ll have his chance too.
Back on slightly better ground I’m willing to give my old friend One True King another go. He jumped really slickly off good ground earlier in the season and looked one to follow, but his progress has stalled somewhat. It was still a reasonable effort at Ascot last time, despite a bad mistake late on when he still held a chance, and this, for all it’s a Saturday TV race, does look winnable.
I didn’t like much on my first look at the race but on a second reading I’ll give Bourbon Beauty a try at 20-1 and bigger, which looks the wrong price. She underperformed at Warwick on her latest start but that might have been down to a combination of very soft ground and the fact she had a hard enough race when successful at Kelso earlier that month.
Her second to The Glancing Queen in November reads perfectly well, with the third Global Harmony successful off 116 in a small Hereford handicap earlier in the week and she meets fourth-home Alpha Carinae on more advantageous terms at today’s weights, so for the latter to be a shorter price in the market just looks wrong. In the hope better ground sees her get back on track, she’s worth a small each-way bet.
Today's selection – Man Of The Night (e/w 6 or 7 places, if you're lucky) 3.10 Doncaster
Good luck with all your bets today,