Only seven line up for this Handicap Hurdle, one of two feature races at Doncaster today with £7,507 going the way of the winner. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Big Chief Benny will be popular following his comeback run last month and he should strip fitter here with his yard in flying form, however MIDNIGHT JAZZ should go in here. She was a good second behind two-time Listed winner Stephanie Frances on her last start and a repeat of that performance should see her go close in this line-up. Minstrel’s Gallery can chase them home as long as the ground doesn’t dry out too much.
1 Midnight Jazz – Proved to be at the top of his game when scoring by an easy five lengths at Stratford two starts back. Fine second in a Listed race at Wetherby on last start behind the useful Stephanie Frances from the Dan Skelton yard who has gone on to win another Listed race at Bangor since. That looks like good form in the context of this race and should go well. Big player.
2 Big Chief Benny – Won a couple of Novice Hurdles last term over this trip including here in January (Good/Soft). Sixth of seven on first start in a Handicap on reappearance at Market Risen last month following seven months off and should come on for the run with yard in excellent form.
3 Minstrels Gallery – Twice won over hurdles on heavy ground last term, including once here over 2m, and added a couple of AW wins to his tally in the spring. Decent third over 2m4f on Soft last month after a five month absence. Had Maxie T in behind when scoring at Wetherby back in February and should come on for a comeback run. Won’t want the ground too quick, but has finished runner-up on this ground at Fakenham before and yard in fine form. Player.
4 Maxie T – Won a decent Handicap hurdle at Kelso last year but Handicapper seems to have his measure and 6lb above that winning mark now. Made a poor reappearance at Market Risen when finished tailed-off last month well behind the re-opposing Minstrels Gallery (third) and Big Chief Benny (sixth). Will struggle to overturn form with those two and hard to fancy given poor strike rate in this sphere.
5 Marquis Of Carabas – Won a Novice Hurdle over 2m3f (Good/Soft) at Warwick in May and finished runner-up at Wetherby (Good) off this mark in October, only a neck back. Has turned in a couple of poor efforts on his last two starts, including when a well-backed favourite at Uttoxeter last time and easy to rule out on those despite Brian Hughes, who has been in terrific form, being on board today. Others preferred.
6 Satanic Beat – In fair form recently and finished a respectable second of ten at Huntingdon last week over 1m7f (Good/Soft) with today’s capable apprentice on board. Hasn’t won in 15 runs since getting up over 2m at Warwick last October and never won over this trip. This may come a bit too soon after Sunday’s run and is best watched for now.
7 Cactus Valley – Fair form on the flat with a couple of wins over 1m2f and won first Handicap hurdle over 1m7f at Wetherby in April (Soft). Unable to follow up and only ninth of 14 on reappearance at Leicester 12 days ago on this ground. Up against better opposition today and will need a career best to trouble some of these.