Seven horses line up in a tricky looking Handicap Chase in today’s feature race at Doncaster. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: A few of these have been running well without winning, but one of them may find it’s their turn today. Velator has been in good form recently and the Cheltenham race he finished third in now looks good form judged on subsequent efforts of some of his rivals that day. He should continue to go well for his yard who continue in fine form, but he may just bump into one in the shape of JAC THE LEGEND. He has also been running well recently and is a strong traveller, so he may just have too much pace for Velator in the later stages of the race and Brian Ellison and Brian Hughes both continue in top form. He could be hard to beat.
1 Court By Surprise – Won here before when scoring by a nose over 3m three years ago and back-to-back winner of 3m-3m1f events two years ago at Exeter and Wincanton. Largely out of form since, but was an encouraging second of five over 3m3f (Good/Soft) at Sandown two starts back before flopping in eighth place on last start at Sandown over 3m5f on Sunday. Turned out again quickly and should struggle on best form.
2 Velator – Hasn’t won since a comfortable ten length win at Newton Abbot (Good) over this trip two years ago. Has been in consistent form since without winning, including when third at Cheltenham in a big field event over 3m2f (Good) in October. The form of that race has been boosted since and he should continue to give a good account with his yard in form. Wouldn’t want the ground to get any softer, however, with all of his best form coming on better form and has a solid place chance. Cheekpieces on today.
3 Fort Worth – Been running with credit recently without winning and was in the process of running a big race when unseating his rider three out at Taunton on his last start over 2m7f. Fair third of 1ten before that on Good/Firm six lengths adrift of Dancing Shadow. Hasn’t won in over two years and never over this far. On a decent mark and will appreciate the ground as long as it doesn’t soften overnight, but unreliable sort who is set for minor money again today.
4 Dancing Shadow – Still to win a race after 18 starts, but was a decent runner-up at Exeter two starts back, only going down a neck. Ahead of Forth Worth by six lengths that day and the Handicapper looks to have his measure now. He is likely to struggle against a few of these and connections reach for cheekpieces now.
5 Jac The Legend – Has been a consistent performer for Brian Ellison with his last win coming over 3m3f at Sedgefield (Soft) last year. Only out of the frame twice from eight runs since, he was a good third of nine at Segefield (Good) in October. Has a career high mark to contend with, but the manner in which he travels in his races shows he can overcome that. Will stay and all his winning has come on softer ground than good. Nevertheless, he is versatile ground-wise and his yard and jockey are in flying form. Big player.
6 Godsmejudge – Scottish Grand National winner back in 2013 over 4m at Ayr so has a touch of class, but hasn’t won since then and was last of three at Leicester (Firm) over 2m6f 12 days ago when he reportedly bled from his nose. Can be ruled out today, with most of his recent form nowhere near good enough to take this.
7 Settledoutofcourt – Three time winner on this ground and won well over 3m2f at Carlisle last October which bodes well for this and seemed to be back to that when runner-up at Wetherby over 3m 27 days ago. Could go well if building on that, but had been in-and-out of form prior to that. He is now 2lb out of the Handicap and others have better credentials for this.