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We have four more races from the second day of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster on ITV4 on Friday, and this time the focus is on the stayers in the Doncaster Cup (15:00).
Sometimes a punter’s greatest advantage is knowing which races to attack and which ones to leave alone and, after looking at the feature race from all angles, I still can’t find one I feel comfortable parting money with.
Coltrane is the solid one but has to carry a penalty for his recent York win and crosses swords with Trueshan, a horse who was sent off at 2-9f when they met at level weights in last year’s renewal of the same race. Trueshan has had a break, a wind operation and will have his ground but, after being consistent for so long, doubts have arisen this season as to whether past battles have taken their toll – hence the very different prices 12 months on. Sweet William is the improver but still meets both his main rivals on much worse terms than in a handicap and this is his first foray into Pattern company.
All of which led me to look closely at the outsiders, especially as none of the front three in the market usually make the running so there is the potential for a small-field, messy-pace type scenario. Broome is increasingly sluggish from the gates so would have to be hustled to lead, so it could well be The Grand Visir who takes up the most advantageous position tactically. Clearly, he has to find massive improvement to still be there at the end and, while I can certainly see him outrunning his odds, it is a big leap of faith to believe he will make the first two. Time to exercise the punters’ prerogative and find better opportunities elsewhere.
ONE FOR DONCASTER, SALISBURY AND CHESTER
With two tricky juvenile races, the best bet in the ITV races could prove to be REAL DREAM 100/30, who can get back on track and steam home in the Mallard Handicap (15:35) over the St Leger trip. He ran disappointingly in the Ebor when the Stoute stable were going through a quiet patch, and the decision to ride him more forward to try and negate his wide draw almost certainly contributed to him being so well beaten.
Back in calmer waters and with the yard back among the winners, he can confirm the promise of his comprehensive Ascot victory in July from main rival The Goat, who would love any more rain that should fall having won in a quagmire at Goodwood two starts back.
There are a couple of interesting horses away from Doncaster, starting with MITWAA 11/8 at Salisbury (16:55), who seems to well-handicapped based on a promising second at Newbury on his nursery debut. While he was suited by the strong pace that day, he comes from a good family and can confirm the form with She Wore No Jewels who was one place behind him and rates as the main danger.
It is also worth taking a chance with KESSAAR POWER on his first start for trainer Phil McEntee at Chester (14:45). The yard do well with switchers – runners having their first start for their new stable – and also have another, Afterlife, in the same race.
Preference, however, is for Kessaar Power who will relish the likely testing round and has experience of the track and a nice draw. the booking of Chester specialist Franny Norton also catches the eye as I don’t think he has ever previously ridden for the yard. Having won his first two when joining his previous stable, hopefully another change of scene can rekindle Kessaar Power’s enthusiasm.
STABLE TRACKER RUNNER
CIRCE can get the day off to an enchanting start at Doncaster (13:15) by confirming the promise she showed on debut at Sandown. Being by Kodiac, it was no surprise she seemed to know her job and, having been briefly held up for a run, she got a bit tired on the final climb to the line.
The Hannon yard had a very quiet few months with their juveniles but have already nearly matched their best monthly total of 2023 with six wins already in September, and the experience she gained from Sandown should stand her in good stead against an inexperienced field.
JOCKEYS FOR COURSES
Friday sees three well-known riders head to tracks where they guide home more winners than the market expects:
- Doncaster – William Buick (97 winners from 464 rides with an actual/expected ratio of 1.17). Starts the St Leger meeting just three short of a century of winners on Town Moor.
- Chester – Jason Hart (25/144, 1.54 A/E). Excels on the Roodee.
- Salisbury – James Doyle (41/229, 1.31 A/E). Only his third visit of the season to the Wiltshire track.
KESSAAR POWER 17/2 (Chester, 14:45)
REAL DREAM 100/30 (Doncaster, 15:35)
MITWAA 11/8 (Salisbury, 16:55)