What are the best bets at Doncaster on Friday?
The Doncaster St Leger meeting continues this afternoon and our racing exert has previewed the four races being shown live on More4.
13:55 Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3), 7f
It’ll be interesting to see how Ed Dunlop’s South African import Same Jurisdiction fares on her first British start and her first outing for 230 days. A Grade 1 winner last July and runner-up in another Grade 1 when last seen out, she’s clearly got some ability and doesn’t have much to find on the ratings.
However, she’ll do well to cope with the race-fit and year younger NEMORALIA and Jeremy Noseda’s charge is quite rightly odds-on to prevail (5/6 best with Paddy Power). It’s hard to believe now that she won a nursery at this meeting 12 months ago – in hindsight she was certainty that day off a mark of 87 – given her progress this season, with a cracking second second to Qemah in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes sandwiched between a couple of York wins. The latest of those came at this level and on a similar surface, so there’s every reason to think she can continue the fine run of three-year-olds in this race, with the last ten runnings falling to the classic generation.
Of the rest, Lumiere has something to prove after bombing out at Deauville last time (not the first time this season she’s run well below-par), and Henry Candy’s La Rioja may come out third best.
14:30 Pepsi Max Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2), 5f
The Hannon stable has farmed this race in recent years, winning four of the last six renewals, but both Legendary Lunch and Grizzel look up against it based on previous efforts. Mark Johnston is also double-handed with Yalta and The Last Lion and the former’s performance when winning the Molecomb makes him the pick of the pair.
However, they’ve all got Clive Cox’s TIS MARVELLOUS to beat. The son of Harbour Watch slammed his rivals in a Windsor maiden back in July and confirmed that positive impression when landing a Group 2 in France on his next start from the useful Al Johrah, who had chased home the freakish Lady Aurelia at Royal Ascot previously, giving the form a solid look. The selection had no answer to the latter horse at Deauville last time, finishing last of the five runners, albeit not beaten far. However, the drop back to 5f should suit this grandson of the brilliantly fast Romantic Myth and he has no Lady Aurelia to worry about today. He’s a worthy favourite then at bet365′s 11/4.
15:05 Ladbrokes Mallard Stakes (Handicap), 1m6f 132y
Most of these have an exposed look with the notable exception of Hugo Palmer’s WALL OF FIRE, the sole three-year-old runner. He’s thrived since stepping up in trip and was winning for the second time in three starts when landing the competitive Melrose Handicap over today’s trip at York last time. Despite his 16/1 starting price, there didn’t appear to be any fluke about that victory and he looked better the further he went. He would have been a bigger price in running as he ran in snatches on the far side and got behind, so backers might have some anxious moments here (one to back in-running, perhaps?), but it’s at the finish that matters and it doesn’t harm his chances that Josephine Gordon is claiming 3lb off his back. bet365 go a standout 4/1.
Mark Johnston’s Polarisation just shades Fabricate as the main danger with Battersea looking best of the remainder.
15:40 250th Doncaster Cup (Group 2) (British Champions Series), 2m2f
It’s a shame that Ascot Gold Cup second Mizzou is a late withdrawal due to an abscess as I liked his chances. In his absence, I’m going to switch allegiance to Roger Charlton’s QUEST FOR MORE, the winner of last month’s Lonsdale Cup, with the reopposing pair of Clever Cookie and Curbyourenthusiasm well behind. That York contest has been a terrific guide to this race having produced 11 of the last 14 winners and four of the 12 last-time-out winners to contest this race in the last ten years have followed up. George Baker gave him a superb ride on the Knavesmire, taking the bull by the horns to make all, and he looked like he could go round again at the finish, so there are no worries over the slightly longer trip. With the ground drying out just in time, he really does have plenty going for him and Coral odds of 7/2 seem fair enough.
Last year’s winner Clondaw Warrior may give him most to do with Ryan Moore booked, while Sheikhzayedroad is still unexposed as a stayer and is respected most of the rest.