Alas, it is upon us. The waiting is over for flat aficionados and Doncaster serves us up a card to whet our appetite for the summer ahead as we wait for Aintree and Punchestown to conclude an up and down NH campaign. It doesn’t take a seasoned punter to work out picking winners this early in a the flat season can be a tricky task. The ground is harder to predict than Arsene Wenger’s plans for next season and form could be crossed off the card for all intents and purposes. That is unless they have been on a jolly amongst the golden sands of Meydan… Good luck.
1 50 – Cammidge Throphy
Absolutely So (A Balding) 7/1
As consistent a 6/7F performer as you can hope for at this level, this 7YO is used to big handicap fields and won’t win for a lack of effort. The ground is no issue but any more rain in Yorkshire than is anticipated could see mission abort for betting purposes. The price gives you an EW option and why one or two could potentially improve and edge past Andrew Balding’s gelding, the handicapper has given another sniff of hope with the mark a 107. Saying he will be race fit would be a guess; but on the whole everyone’s in the same boat.
Blue Bayou (B Meehan) 25/1
A pure gamble at the odds, simply hoping that some of her juvenile form remains hidden away somewhere. There must be suspicions of this somewhere in connection’s calculations with the decision to go straight back into a race such as this. She was tailed off in two hot races, behind Minding and Persuasive, last season – but with a line through these you’d struggle to make her a double figure price. Quicker ground would be ideal however…
2 25 – Spring Mile
Mutarakez (B Meehan) 14/1
This 5YO was at his best early on last season, winning on his reappearance before following up at Haydock. This time he has the benefit of a prep run and logic suggests this gives him a slight head start on over half the field. A sliding mark is always beneficial and the run at Lingfield when a 33/1 outsider was not bad by any means, on a surface that clearly doesn’t suit. 14/1 represents a generous price and importantly the 5YO is versatile in conditions.
3 00 – Doncaster Mile
Stormy Antarctic (E Walker) 7/2
Yes he’s the favourite, but he clearly sets the form standard to the field and again was at his best in the spring of 2016 – especially the Craven meeting. Crazy Horse is an obvious threat and we are far from at the bottom of John Gosden’s unexposed 4YO. Any rain is more than welcome however and 7/2 is still a fair price for the punter. Confident.
3 35 – Lincoln
Yuften (R Charlton) 9/2
The 6YO continues to be well supported and any serious EW price has disappeared now punters have clocked they were on an EW shot to nothing. The price is understandably not as attractive as when Morando was amongst the field on top of this. However, lets face the facts. He came into strong vein of form towards the end of last season and was unlucky in running at Lingfield in the ‘trial’ race – watch it back. A lot of rain would be a worry but he seems to be progressing still, and 105 still appears to be a very workable valuation. The draw isn’t a concern and seems to change year on year according to what Mick Fitzgerald fancies as the better side.
Oh This Is Us (R Hannon) 14/1
The race is clearly open and competitive, but at 14s you’d be brash to rule out Richard Hannon’s miler. He has a fitness edge on the majority after his encouraging brace of runs in Meydan and showed many promising efforts on home soil last summer; albeit far too inconsistently. Quicker ground could preferable but the supposed ‘Good To Soft’ won’t worry connections. Ryan Moore is on board and Hannon is usually quick to find a winner or two in the spring.
No bet for obvious reasons, apologies – but lets be honest.
I do feel strongly against the dividing up of such a culturally significant race however. It should not have two divisions, simple. You can only have one winner of the Brocklesby, and the prize money is another problem. Anyway, you get the message. Other races are binocular jobs too. Welcome back summer.