The flat returns with a bang this weekend and Doncaster host’s a stellar 8 race card, featuring two high-class listed races and The Unibet Lincoln. This year’s renewal looks a good one and given multiple Group 1 winner, Addeybb won this in 2018, it can throw up seriously high-class winners and ones to take forward. Throughout the preview I will look at all 8 races on the card and hopefully sniff out the odd bit of value and hopefully a winner or two.
Makalu may be ready to pounce in Doncaster opener
The flat season gets underway with a 5-furlong sprint for two-year-olds. Vintage Clarets 10/3 is likely to prove a popular pick for trainer Richard Fahey who has won this race 4 times over the years. Strong market support for him may be hard to ignore. £60,000 yearling Forca Brasil 11/4 is closely related to 4 winners, including the 103 rated Muker. Like Vintage Clarets, he may be hard to ignore should the money start talking. Kevin Stott is absolutely flying at the moment, recording 5 wins from his last 16 rides, operating at a 31% strike rate. He takes the ride abord £20,000 yearling Makalu 7/1 for trainer Kevin Ryan. Kevin Ryan has had a couple of winners in recent times and his yard is renowned for having plenty of two-year-old winners. With no form to go on, these two-year-old races can be a tough one to assess but Mukalu makes enough appeal to get the final vote.
Listed honours can go to the Space Traveller
The Unibet Doncaster Mile is next up on the card and this year’s renewal looks both a competitive and high class one. Montatham 7/2 won nicely on his reappearance last season and ran some huge races in extremely competitive handicaps. For all he is entitled to improve, I believe he is one of the more exposed runners and wouldn’t make significant appeal at the current prices. Top Rank 6/1 finished third to Montatham last season and on Official Ratings would come off poorly at the weights here having to concede at least 5lbs to every runner. He did win on his seasonal reappearance last year but he will have to put in a career best to win this. Father Of Jazz 13/2 caught my eye having looked extremely useful on the all weather this winter and the step back to a mile could really suit. He’s race fit, unexposed on turf, and could be ready to strike for his trainer Roger Varian who boasts a 23% strike rate around Doncaster in the last 5 seasons and has won 3 of the last 4 running’s.
I did really like the claims of Father Of Jazz but I couldn’t ignore Space Traveller 5/1 at the prices who on Official Ratings comes out the clear pick at the weights. Richard Fahey has had plenty of winners this year and it is interesting to see him bring Space Traveller back after just the one start last season and seemingly subsequent issues. Still a full horse, connections must feel they have unfinished business on the track, and this represents a steep step down in class. His sole start last season came in the Group 1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot where he finished a very creditable sixth, just over four lengths behind Circus Maximus. A course winner on debut, we know he likes the track and his reappearance record (including his debut win) reads 126. On all known form, with race conditions to suit, he is the standout pick.
Queen’s Sargent can outrun her odds in wide open handicap mile
Acquited 4/1 currently sits at the top of the betting for the Unibet Spring Mile Handicap and could attract plenty of support having run extremely well behind none other than Palace Pier last season. In a 22-runner field, 4/1 wouldn’t be my kind of price in a race like this and instead I have tried to look for some value. As touched upon earlier in the preview, Kevin Stott has been banging in the winners and trainer Kevin Ryan has his string in good form. The duo are represented by Queen’s Sargent 33/1 who caught the eye on his last start, staying on into fourth over 7 furlongs on heavy ground. A winner on good to firm, the quicker conditions won’t be a problem and now a six-year-old, I believe a mile might be just what he wants. His reappearance record would fill you with confidence too. Excluding his first ever start, his seasonal reappearance figures read 133 at odds of 15/8, 7/1 and 16/1. This clearly highlights his ability to go well fresh and outrun market expectations. Currently priced up at 33/1, I’m hoping he can outrun his odds.
Danyeh ticks all the boxes in classy renewal of the Lincoln
The feature race on the card is the Unibet Lincoln ran over a mile. Often won by a classy individual, this year’s renewal is headed by impressive Meydan winner Eastern World 4/1. Unsurprisingly, he has attracted support throughout the week but the gamble of this year’s race is undoubtedly Haqeeqy 4/1. As big as 8/1 earlier on in the week, he is now a general 4/1 shot and will be ridden by 7lbs claimer Benoit De La Sayette. This is by far the young jockeys biggest ride to date and in a classy 22 runner handicap he’ll need to be at the top of his game. For obvious reasons, the top two in the market have standout claims but I really like the chances of Danyah 12/1 for Owen Burrows and Kieran Shoemark. He would be a timely winner for connections after the passing of legendary owner Hamdan Al Maktoum. Danyah really does tick all the boxes and is the clear pick on all race trends. He was an impressive winner at the track on his seasonal reappearance last season and is a horse who appears to go very well fresh. Sent off favourite in 5 of his 7 lifetime starts, he’s clearly a horse showing plenty of ability at home. 13 of the last 17 winners have been drawn in stall 9 so Danyeh would look to have an ideal draw coming from stall 9. He is relatively unexposed and may well improve for the big field. I like his chances at 12/1. King Ottacker and Brentford Hope were others who caught my eye, but both may need softer ground conditions to be seen to best affect.
He’s fast, he’s furious, he is Frank!
The sprinters are next up on the card at Doncaster in the 6-furlong Unibet Cammidge Trophy Stakes. The brilliant Brando heads the betting at 5/2 and at the weights looks the standout pick on Official Ratings. He is a nine-year-old now though and the last two seasons hasn’t been the most reliable. Summerghand 11/2 clearly possesses plenty of talent but needs things to fall perfectly into place. Three-year-old, Just Frank 5/1, looks the progressive horse in the race and receives 13lbs from his main market rivals, putting him bang there on Official Ratings. Gelded just 2 starts into his two-year-old season, the operation seemed to work, and he recorded form figures of 112 after that and had excuses for the runner up finish in Listed company. There may well be plenty of improvement to come and he looks a nice price at 5/1. I cannot move on without mentioning Mr Lupton 9/1 who has been a terrific servant for connections over the years and who always seems go well fresh. I can see him running on into a place at a track where he holds the two-year-old course record over six and a half furlongs!
Khaiz could be all the craze in Maiden Stakes
All eyes will no doubt be on Khaiz 3/1 in the 32Red Casino Maiden Stakes at 4:20. A full brother to the all-conquering Ghaiyyath, he has an extremely exciting pedigree and will likely attract plenty of support. Ghaiyyath was beaten on his first start though and I believe I may be worth siding with market rival Dhushan 15/8 who ran a race full of promise back in September on his sole start. He finished strongly that day and will appreciate the extra two furlongs here. Trainer William Haggas has had 2 winners from 2 runners in the last fourteen days so you’d like to think he’ll be ready to rumble and I’m hoping he can put his racecourse experience to good use.
Leroy Leroy a very interesting runner in competitive looking handicap
The penultimate race on the card is a handicap set to be run over a mile and two furlongs. Looking through the 15-runner field, plenty of these come into this with some in differing form but I did think the Jim Boyle trained Leroy Leroy 12/1 was a very interesting runner. Sent novice hurdling in August, Leroy Leroy recorded form figures of 2211 over obstacles and looked highly progressive. He disappointed at Cheltenham on his final hurdle start but drifted substantially in the betting that day and may not have handled broth the track and tacky ground. He did however beat the now 134 rated Ajero on his start prior to that, which even crossing codes to the flat would read as smart form in this company. He has a previous Doncaster win to his name and Rhys Clutterbuck takes the ride having had a couple of winners in recent times. The decision to return to the flat may be a clue in itself and I’m hoping Leroy Leroy can go well at a double figure price.
Hot Team can strike in the lucky last
Much like the penultimate race on the card, the last looks a minefield with plenty of runners coming into this with considerable question marks. Charlie Arthur 4/1 is likely to go off close to favourite and has at least proved his well being with form figures of 2421 in recent times on the all-weather. I will take him on with Hot Team 7/1 for the Fahey yard who have had plenty of winners already this year. Taking into account Oisin McSweeney’s claim, Hot Team will go off close to the bottom of the weights here and showed considerable improvement on his last all-weather start, three weeks ago. A return to both turf and a galloping track could suit, and I’d like to think he’ll be staying on strong in the closing stages.
By Sam Rideout
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