Saturday 27th Doncaster Preview

Saturday’s Doncaster meeting spells the long-awaited return of the British flat season, as ever headed by the Lincoln handicap. A very competitive affair, as you can make a case for many of the runners in most of the races! Having looked through the card, I have made note of any potential horses that could run well, out-run their odds or just of general intrigue.

1:25- Brocklesby Stakes

The first real intriguing two-year-old race of the year most notably won in recent years by surprise Middle Park winner The Last Lion. Over a distance of 5f and with conditions expected to be ‘Good’, you would be expecting a time of just over 1 minute. Makalu was sired by Mehmas, who is in his second season as a sire. Having already sired a Group 1 winner in Middle Park conqueror Supremacy, and the third in that race in Minzaal, he looks to be a very exciting sire and there’s no reason to say that Makalu won’t set the ball rolling for him this year. However, Richard Fahey and his team have taken this race 4 times, including the last renewal with Show Me Show Me, and they team up with Paul Hanagan again with Vintage Clarets. His sire is Ardad, who has his first foal running in Vintage Clarets. This is intriguing because he was a very early bloomer, winning the Flying Childers and at Royal Ascot. Moreover, he finished 9th beaten a few lengths in a high class Prix de L’Abbaye. Additionally, there’s more speed on the Dam side of the family. This suggests that a fast 5f will suit Vintage Clarets very well.

2:00- Doncaster Mile

Montatham was disappointing last time out but has some nice pieces of form from last year behind Sir Busker and Dark Vision. Moreover, he has the highest speed figure of all in the race. I have always liked Juan Elcano and he probably didn’t see out the trip in the Voltigeur, personally, I think he is better suited to around a mile. This is reinforced by his 5th in a very fast Guineas to Kameko. He’s been gelded since he last ran and should definitely be in contention. Qaysar has course and distance form and should enjoy the ground. He seems to run well off a break and should also be a consideration. I would be surprised if Top Rank did not feature with a chance of winning the race,  with being one of the highest rated in the race and having numerous positives against his name. He’s won many times over the ground and distance, and has struck in this class of race before. The only downside is that he has been penalised 5lbs.

2:35- Spring Mile Handicap

I was slightly surprised to see that Aweedram was such a large price in this race. Granted, he has been out of form lately and he may prefer the ground to be softer, which cannot be ignored, but he is well in on the weights compared to his challengers. Moreover, he has been stepped back in trip to a mile, which I believe suits him better. I  would not be surprised if he outran his odds. Artistic Rifles is one of the eye-catchers in the race for many reasons. He had a pleasing run at Newcastle, after a break, last time out and Andrea Atzeni notably takes the ride. He’s won every race he has ran over course and distance, seems to enjoy the ground and has been running well with a tongue strap. However, Acquitted has the standout form of the race, with being second behind Palace Pier at Newcastle last year. That race was where I started to take note of Palace Pier, as the time was an incredibly fast time, and on ratings alone, Acquitted should have been more than 3 lengths behind him. Although Acquitted was disappointing in his last two races, he’s since been gelded and if he can rediscover the form from the aforementioned run, he would be in with a massive shout of claiming glory in this race.

3:10- Lincoln Handicap

The Lincoln is a notoriously hard race to decipher, but it can throw up a few horses that don’t deserve to be such large odds. For example, Librisia Breeze won the Champions Sprint Stakes many moons ago, and it has to be said, hasn’t been in the same vigour since. However, he has had wind surgery since his last run and has a few positives with the distance, class and handicap in his favour. The same can be said for Revich, who has positives with the handicap, distance and was in quite good form last year. As well as this, star apprentice Angus Villiers takes 5lbs off him.

Albeit, in recent years, the Lincoln has been won by a smart 4 year old, and there are 3 that automatically take my attention. The first of which is the William Haggas trained Johan, ridden by Cieren Fallon. He has a good record over the distance, on the ground and at this class. Although he was disappointing behind the likeable Kinross last time out, I wouldn’t be too worried. Secondly, Danyah is a horse I am a real fan of, and he has everything in the positives with the ground, distance, course and class all being in his favour. He runs well first time out and I think he’s a major player. Haqeeqy has the same positives as the aforementioned two but a notable difference is that he has first-rate apprentice Benoit De La Sayette reducing the load by 7 lbs, which is literally a load off against his competitors.

3:45- Cammidge Trophy Stakes

On raw form, Brando would walk this field but he is 9 and may just need the run after a lay-off. Summerghand has been running on the All-Weather recently and seems as sharp as ever, whether this is the primary target for him is another matter. Just Frank was an improving sort last year, most notably second to Saint Lawrence, who subsequently repeatedly placed behind most of the high class/talked about two year olds of last season. Just Frank was second over course and distance and is definitely open to improvement.

4:20- Maiden Stakes

There is a blinding entrant into this race, in regards to the full brother to last year’s Horse of The Year- Ghaiyyath. Khaiz cost £700,000 at the sales and is also trained by Charlie Appleby. Ghaiyyath first ran over 1m and this race is 1m 2f, so it seems that connections anticipate that 1m 2f will be his ideal distance. Monte Carlo Bay is interesting on the breeding side, being American bred by Nobel Mission and a family of sprinters on the Dam’s side. However, this is probably a two horse race between those that have had their first day at school. Dhushan was just touched off by Star Catcher on his debut at Goodwood and was very pleasing. Moreover, he has an entry into the Epsom Derby, which suggests that connections think a lot of him. The George Strawbridge owned Sevenal possibly found the very impressive Mutasaabeq a little too hot during his first race, and is probably likely to improve. Additionally, as with the Lincoln, Benoit De La Sayette takes 7 lbs off, which may just tip the scales into Sevenal’s favour.

4:55- Apprentice Handicap (Div 1)

This race is quite the pinsticker’s favourite! However, there is an abundance of talented jockeys on display. Lady Ironside is trained by Kevin Philippart De Foy, whose team are in flying form, and adding Benoit De La Sayette to that, makes for a deadly duo! As well as this, Lady Ironside wears cheek-pieces for the first time, which could be an added bonus. Country’N’Western has positives on the ground, class and handicap and Molly Presland is skilled jockey. I’m fairly certain that he should outrun his odds. The same can be said for Mutamaded, who, although isn’t in rich form, has some advantages. Additionally, he is 14 lbs lower than his reappearance last year and Joanna Mason is a very capable and accomplished jockey, which is even more bolstered with her having an 80/1 winner on the day of writing! However, he does have 9 stone 11 lbs which could slow him down a bit.

5:25- Apprentice Handicap (Div 2)

Again, another Pinsticker’s favourite, with an abundance of talent! Nobel Peace has numerous positives next to his name, and has been in quite good form lately. Furthermore, Christian Howarth hasn’t been riding long, but has been doing a sterling job of late. Id imagine that Nobel Peace will outrun his odds. Party Island seems to enjoy the distance and has been going well the All-Weather. The splendid George Bass keeps the ride, that he’s won with twice and clearly gets a tune out of him!

By Kieran McHugh

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