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Doncaster Friday tips – best bets for the ITV4 races

Our racing expert has a tip for each of the televised races.

1:50 7f (7f6y) Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Anna Nerium is 3-4 over this trip, including a Group 3 at Goodwood last time, but she wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much as she prefers some dig and the same can be said of a few more of these, in particular Dan’s Dream and Elithea.

John Gosden’s Laugh Aloud is less ground dependant and is a leading player on the best of her form, albeit that is over a mile and she was a little disappointing on her Sandown reappearance 13 days ago.

In which case it could be worth siding with Andrew Balding’s DANCING STAR as she looked desperately unlucky not to score in a Group 3 at Glorious Goodwood on her most recent outing, when going down by just a neck after a far from clear passage through the race.

A former classy sprinter whose last success came in the Stewards’ Cup over two years ago, that run proved she stays this far and indeed she may be able to find a little more improvement over this longer trip.

A faster surface suits her ideally and she missed an engagement back at Goodwood at the end of August as the ground was too soft, so the relatively dry week would have been welcomed by connections and the forecast good ground should be fine for her.

2:25 5f (5f3y) Wainwrights Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2yo)
A competitive renewal with five last-time-out winners in the field headed by Richard Spencer’s RUMBLE INTHEJUNGLE, who scored a decisive success in the Molecomb Stakes with his jockey Tom Queally having a job pulling him up afterwards.

Previously he had finished fourth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, where he was the only one who could lay up with the winner Shang Shang Shang, and his trainer reckons he might have won had he been able to get another run into him.

Having “grown plenty” between Ascot and Goodwood, there is every chance he has improved again since the Glorious meeting and in which case he’s going to take plenty of beating.

It’s tempting to find one against him as he’s no bigger than 2/1 and John Gosden’s Legends of War and Irish raider Indigo Balance are worth considering, but I think this is best left to the favourite, especially as the ground remains decent.

3:00 1m6½f (1m6f115y) William Hill Mallard Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-110)
A typically competitive renewal and you can make a case for plenty but the one I’m drawn to most is John Gosden’s three-year-old BEN VRACKIE, who is far less exposed than most of these after just four starts.

He was a beaten favourite in a three-runner Group 3 at Goodwood (1m6f) last time but the winner Maid Up (who was getting 3lb) is very smart and takes her chance in Saturday’s St Leger, so it’s a better run than it perhaps looked at the time.

While he’s going to make a better four-year-old, Gosden must think he can win a handicap off his current mark of 104 – his entry in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup backs that up – and he gets into this with a nice racing weight of 9st 1lb with Frankie Dettori booked. He’ll do for me at Betfair’s 7/1.

Of his rivals, Walton Street has to be feared after his solid thirds in a Newbury Group 3 and Royal Ascot handicap the last twice, although he’s giving the selection 12lb. Speedo Boy is the other runner I’ve got plenty of respect for as he’s still unexposed as a stayer and given he gets further, he’ll be finishing better than most.

3:35 2m2f (2m1f197y) Doncaster Cup Stakes (Group 2) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Just the eight runners and five of them belong to just two trainers, with Willie Mullins and David Simcock running three and two respectively.

The former’s trio are headed by Thomas Hobson who has been lightly campaigned this season after his fine sixth in the Melbourne Cup and was second in this race last year.

That entitles him to favouritism but Simcock’s SHEIKHZAYEDROAD was just a neck behind him 12 months ago and while now a nine-year-old, his second on World Cup night back in March showed he was still capable of big performances.

He has been less good in two starts since but he may need more time between his races these days and has been off since the Ascot Gold Cup, a break of 85 days. With his stable in flying form and in what is a very winnable race for the grade, he has to be the pick.


Doncaster 1.50, Dancing Star @ 9/2 bet365
Doncaster 2.25, Rumble Inthejungle @ 2/1 bet365
Doncaster 3.00, Ben Vrackie @ 7/1 Betfair
Doncaster 3.35, Sheikhzayedroad @ 4/1 Ladbrokes

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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