Horse racing editor’s pick for Day 3 of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting on Friday.
The top quality racing action from Doncaster continues on Friday with the Group 2 Doncaster Cup taking centre-stage and providing our Editor with his best bet of the day.
A field of 12 runners have come together to contest this 2m2f stamina test with the 2012 and 2013 winner of this contest, Times Up, looking to make it three on the bounce. Ed Dunlop’s stable was under a cloud early this season which goes some way to explain this horses’ poor performances on both his first start (trip also too short) and in a Group 2 at Longchamp during May. However, with the yard free of its problems, this horse put in a promising display last time out at York where he finished a creditable third in a race that was clearly a prep for this assignment. Course and distance experience is always worth noting and, as a multiple winner of this contest, Times Up must be respected in what looks to be a below par field.
Nonetheless, the favourite (and rightly so) is ESTIMATE (6/4 William Hill), a multiple Group winner, who finished comfortably ahead of the aforementioned horse at York. This five-year-old daughter of Monsun has stamina in abundance (having won the 2m4f Ascot Gold Cup) and will appreciate the step back up in trip from the 2m she faced on her latest start to the 2m2f she faces today. Bar a disappointing run at Goodwood, when she was reported to be in season and could well have been feeling the effects of a contaminated feed, this mare has performed consistently in the top level staying races and will take a lot of beating. On various form lines she has the beating of the majority of the field and her mare’s allowance combined with ideal race conditions (both ground and trip) play massively into her hands and it will be a huge surprise to see her beaten if at her best.
An interesting and very frustrating runner is Repeater for David O’Meara and Daniel Tudhope. This horse finished third in this race last year meeting traffic during the final few furlongs in the home straight. On that run alone his double figure odds look generous but when you take into account the numerous poor performance he has put in during this season so far and his claims here dwindle quickly. After a hard campaign of some seven races to date, this horse has failed to really sparkle, managing only to secure two placed efforts over 16f. The return to both this testing trip and to Doncaster may well suit but he is certainly not a horse you can put huge levels of faith in.
Of the others, Brass Ring has improved a great deal since switching to staying trips on his last two starts but, with a line through Cavalryman’s form, should find it difficult to beat the selection. The same can be said of Angel Gabrial, this year’s Northumberland Plate winner who is comfortably held by Estimate on their latest runs in the Lonsdale Cup at York. Finally, Whiplash Willie is worth noting if the ground were to deteriorate, but with the forecast remaining positive he may well struggle against the principles here.
2.40 – ESTIMATE (WIN)(NAP) (6/4 William Hill)
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