Race Time: 1.50pm Meeting: Doncaster Day: Saturday 7th November
Distance: 7f Full Race Name: Betfred Good Luck Hayley Turner Handicap Class Two
Sadly there is no Levitate in the field for 2015 as he had won it for the last two years for trainer John Quinn and would have been an easy starting point, but there are plenty of other interesting runners to work on in a race named after the sadly retiring female jockey Hayley Turner who will be missed by all of us, but seems sure to obtain media work almost instantly. Top weights are always the first place to look as the old saying reminds us that “they don’t give weight to donkeys”, so the best horse here is officially Farlow (28/1) who is trained by Richard Fahey and will be ridden by Sammy Jo Bell who is excellent value for her three pound claim. Now a seven year old, the son of the legendary Exceed And Excel is a course and distance winner, but that was in mid August off a mark of 97 and she has failed in three races since off of his new mark of 100 plus and may struggle again today. On the positive side, he represents top connections and has a talented jockey on board, but he is yet to win on the forecast soft going or worse despite a total of eleven attempts and good as he is, his work will be cut out this afternoon.
Michael Appleby is a trainer we like, and why not after a season that has seen his followers take a profit from eleven different tracks in 2015, including a small one here at Doncaster where he has an impressive 11% strike rate. This year he will hopefully send Maggie Pink (16/1) here as she looks to follow up as recent success at Newbury on similarly soft going and over the same seven-furlong trip. Making all that day he fought off all challengers for a close to two length victory at the line, and his four pound rise in the weights looks like something the six year old could handle, though it will need to be a career best which is a bit of a concern!
Whether a seven year old can recapture past glories is a question you may want to ask yourself as the Andrew Balding trained Highland Colori (20/1) has an awful lot in his favour if you think they can? He hasn’t actually won a race since October 2013 so we are asking an awful lot of the son of Le Vie De Colori but he has won here and fished second twice (for seven attempts), has for wins from twenty three starts over seven furlongs, and a 40% win and place record on soft ground, but more importantly, he has scored off handicap marks as high as 111 in the past (and that was here on soft ground over this trip), and gets in off exactly 100 this afternoon.”
Looking for trainers in form and David O’Meara fits the bill so can he conjure another win out of Fort Bastion (14/1) we wonder? No one can argue that he is well weighted today off a mark of 96 having won off of 95 as recently as May – and 106 three years ago! He faded inside the final furlong at Ascot over the mile suggesting he could be happy over this slightly shorter trip, and although that race was also a Class Two, on paper this one looks a little bit easier to win.
Rounding things off, three year olds do not have a great record in this race for some reason, but William Haggas may change all that if he allows the lightly raced Predominance (9/2) to take his place in the line up. After winning first time out, a pretty unusual occurrence for the stable, he was a head second to Lear’s Rock over a mile at Newbury when running on strongly after being left with a bit too much to do in the end. We doubt that mistake will be made again (it happens), and the son of Danehill Dancer has more room to improve than any of his rivals, though we do just wonder whether he will find the trip a little too short for him and will be better over a mile or more?