The Flat-Turf season is drawing to a close with a bit of a whimper but there are still a couple of decent betting opportunities at Doncaster.
While I risk being accused of putting up the world’s most boring selection in the November Handicap, the claims of Royal Line are staring everybody in the face.
First of all, this is bred to be a very good horse, second, he’s shown an extremely high level of form on very soft ground and perhaps most crucially, in order to qualify to run in the race, he needed to have a minimum of three runs, so connections would not have been too disappointed that he did not do any further damage to his position in the weights with his most recent run at Newbury.
In addition, that race was run over 1m5f and he may just have been found wanting for extreme stamina.
There are not that many horses that you can realistically fancy in the race. I think his biggest danger is Saunter, who’s only having his second start for the excellent Ian Williams and ran a very creditable race at Newmarket last time. If he can build on that, a mark of 95 will make him dangerous.
On what could be a decent day for Jim Crowley at Doncaster, Dream Of Dreams, is quite a strong fancy in the Wentworth Stakes.
I think the cutting back to 6f is a good plan for a horse who looked very impressive at Lingfield two starts ago on soft ground. There’s likely to be a fair amount of pace in this race, with Stake Acclaim and Danzeno in the line-up and that should suit the selection.
It’s nice to see Wincanton get a greater share of the limelight – given the way that the calendar has fallen – and the Badger Ales Trophy is as competitive as they could have hoped.
Paul Nicholls has three in the race and the one I like best is Mr Mix whose two career best performances, both over hurdles and fences, have come at this track; a place that jockey in the news, Harry Cobden has already built up an unbelievable record at.
I don’t think the handicapper has been too harsh raising Mr Mix 5Ibs for his recent win here and we know that he can cope with a relatively big field and a race run at a good gallop.
With the Venetia Williams team starting to crank into gear, Yala Enki may be the one to take most seriously as his rival. He’s a pretty smart horse on his day and when he gets into a rhythm he can be mighty hard to peg back – he would be a big threat to all, particularly if any more rain fell.
On what could be a good day for the inform Nicholls, I’m quite sweet on the chances of Zubayr in the Elite Hurdle. He’s got a nice bit of form on slow-ish ground and he’s not short of the speed required to excel at a track like this. He’s fit from the flat and I can see him making the most of this race fitness in receipt of weight from Charbel.
November Handicap – Royal Line
Wentworth Stakes – Dream of Dreams
Badger Ales Trophy – Mr Mix
Elite Hurdle – Zubayr
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.