THEY’RE OFF AT DONCASTER FOR THE LEGER MEETING: It’s an all-action day for our top tipster Daqman, the first day of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster, plus four consecutive Betdaq-sponsored races at Kempton tonight.
2.00 Doncaster: High numbers – stalls 11 and 13 of 13 runners – took this nursery on its debut day last year, producing a shock one-two at 25-1 and 10-1.
The pace that day came from the runner-up but this afternoon should see either, or both of, Nameitwhatyoulike (drawn 2) and Es Que Love (in 4) from the low draw trying to get to the front, along with Ghostwriting (9). All three have led before.
Es Que Love and Ghostwriting, whose rider, William Buick, has a good strike-rate (25%) with two-year-olds on the course, have both been tried at Pattern level.
I took some 6.8 the unexposed Ghostwriting this morning. It wasn’t difficult choosing the colt over the filly favourite, Jessie’s Spirit, though both race off 85. She won five grades lower at Ripon and there is no juvenile depth to her stable. Lay.
2.35 Doncaster: Only five runners but a select field: all five have won a race, seven successes altogether, with Eureka and Gold City the most prolific.
Gold City was a close second to the smart Gerfalcon last time out but – as a Pivotal – probably raised his game on the soft surface, despite being a good-to-firm-ground winner.
Eureka has tried classy company, including a Group 2 last time out, and trainer Richard Hannon is three out of six in the race.
However, against Eureka and Gold City, is that a penalty hasn’t been carried since 2004 and only twice have horses with 9st 1lb or more won this century.
And you would be opposing the early-doors money, which is for Alaskan Bullet, who gets around a two-lengths start from Eureka at the weights, and got a good word from jockey Jamie Spencer after a comfy win at Yarmouth. Pass.
3.10 Doncaster: Three-year-olds, though second in the last two years, have failed to win once in the recent history of this race: today, we have four three-year-olds and Tom Dascombe showing off his Bear Behind, aged two.
The Bear breaks very fast and they could be seeing his Behind for most of the race, so the 24.0 is a first position for back-and-lay punters.
Captain Dunne (dwelt) was unlucky in this last year, when Group Therapy finished a neck in front of him, third. I can see him in Bear Behind’s slipstream today.
But collateral form at Ascot and Beverley in August gives Duchess Dora a narrow edge on Medicean Man, Dinkum Diamond and Captain Dunne (not clear run) in that order, which puts Group Therapy right in the middle of them.
So, as ever, it’s a question, with these sprinters, of whose turn is it today. One thing’s for sure: it’s not my turn for a serious bet. But I’ll take a bit of the 19.5 Bear Behind in case he gets away from them. Just bear with me, and don’t go too fast, so’s I can get my late lay in!
3.45 Doncaster: This Leger Legends race sees some great old favourites back in the saddle for charity: Ray Cochrane, Graham Bradley, Norman Williamson and John Reid won me bundles over the years.
But, spectacle apart, this isn’t one for the punter. Good luck Bradders, Ecky, Storming Norman and Gay Gay. Watch out for the Talent Scout!
4.20 Doncaster: Another hard race: Rasmy is dropped from the Pattern but was well behind Black Spirit and Fallen Idol at Sandown in July. Black Spirit has twice finished behind Elusive Pimpernel, Fallen Idol once.
Zeitoper, a Group-3 winner, is rarely seen on a racecourse; Sahara Sun could be anything but seemingly wouldn’t want rain.
It all goes to suggest that Elusive Pimpernel and Zeitoper – neither of them ground dependent – are the genuine Group horses. Dutch.
4.50 Doncaster: Not a winning favourite in sight in the history of this race, and it’s probably time to bet on the end of White Frost’s run: his 12lb rise means that Sea Soldier has 7lb with which to turn around a Newmarket defeat by a length and a nose, strictly just enough.
Johnny Castle could easily bounce back after his break since being raised by the handicapper, and Shesastar won well at York, but the 7.0 Sea Soldier appealed as value this morning.
5.20 Doncaster: Handicaps get shorter and shorter but this one has a spread of nearly a stone between top and bottom weight and we haven’t seen a winner above the 9st mark in nine years.
Not that three-year-olds have done any good – not a sausage – but, if the rains came, Berberana might change all that. Otherwise, I fancy Drift And Dream (12.0) to step up on her belated reappearance of 18 days ago.
5.50 Kempton (Free Entry For Betdaq Members Classified Stakes): Punters have got it right every time so far – both winners of this have been favourite – but how they’ll do it this time, with the ratings tight and 6.0 the field this morning, is a mystery from where I’m sitting. The answer must be to watch the market for a springer.
Maybe it’s Cantor, with a stable that’s sent out two winners and one other placed from just four runners in the last fortnight. Maybe it’s Ad Value, bred to win on Polytrack, and making a 500-mile round trip from North Yorkshire.
6.20 Kempton (betdaq.com Exchange Prices Multiples Nursery): Another open race but Gerard Butler has a 30% strike rate in two-year-old races on the course and perks up Zain Point with cheekpieces. Thorpe Bay moved to the front of the market early doors. Pass.
6.50 Kempton (Lay Back And Win At betdaq.com Maiden Auction Stakes): The top boy on Zain Point now rides for Richard Hannon on Haafhd Handsome, a son of the Guineas winner.
Heyward Girl went odds on this morning, on the strength of her April second to the Queen Mary and Lowther winner, Best Terms.
That was a long time ago and could just be a false dawn among the daffodils. Something clearly went wrong, as she hasn’t been seen since. They’ve found her a very poor contest, which also suggests that she was hugely flattered (something had to finish second).
I fancy Chrissycross (10.0), who’s shown most promise among those that have raced (Molamento’s form was in a seller), and Haafd Handsome at 12.0 are worth dutching against the favourite.
7.20 Kempton (Betdaq Mobile Apps Handicap): Outsiders always seem to win this, and three-year-olds are 3-1 up over older horses. Iron Step is a good offer at 8.6 as I write, well drawn next door to the favourite, Catchanova.
Catchanova has won three times from five runs at the track but has a massive task against Kieren Fallon on Ferruccio, 12lb better off with that one for half a length. Iron Step, iron glove. Dutch.
LAY to win 10pts JESSIE’S SPIRIT and 3.4pts win GHOSTWRITING (2.00 Doncaster)
BET 1pt win and place BEAR BEHIND (3.10 Doncaster)
BET 5.2pts win ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL and 3.6pts win ZEITOPER (4.20 Doncaster)
BET 3.3pts win (nap) SEA SOLDIER (4.50 Doncaster)
BET 1.8pts win DRIFT AND DREAM (5.20 Doncaster)
LAY to win 10pts HEYWARD GIRL, and BET 2.2pts win CHRISSYCROSS and 1.8pts win HAAFD HANDSOME (6.50 Kempton).
LAY to win 10pts CATCHANOVA, and BET 4.6pts win FERRUCCIO and 2.6pts win IRON STEP (7.20 Kempton)