Saturday 28th February, 2.35pm, Doncaster, 3m 110y, live on Channel 4
For a Listed race that carries both half decent prize money (£11,546 for the winner) as well as weekend bragging rights, Doncaster must be pretty disappointed with a six horse turnout, but what can you do?
With each and every runner carrying exactly eleven stone three the maths is pretty easy, with the Official Ratings telling us that the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained A Doll In Milan is the most likely winner, and by about five lengths if they all run to form. Naturally life is never quite that simple, and the likely favourite did rock the boat when pulling up last time out on heavy ground at Ffos Las, which makes her less of a good thing than we would all like.
A point-to-point winner in Ireland over this three-mile trip suggests stamina may not be an issue (though we are guessing at this higher level), and if the going remains good or even soft, she is the one they all have to beat with A P McCoy in change of doing the steering. She’s been installed at 2/1 and is my tip for this Listed Mares Novices’ Hurdle race!
Princess Tara is the most obvious danger (and the nearest on the ratings too), and arrives her at the very top of her game after two easy wins at Ffos Las. Both those wins were both on heavy ground and we have no evidence whatsoever that she can handle this likely quicker surface. She did manage to finish 2nd in a bumper at Ffos Las on Good ground but that form doesn’t look very strong at all For that reason I for one am happy to bypass her here for both a win bet despite her being installed at 7/4
Golan Road finally won a race over hurdles at the fifth attempt and seems to be outclassed to me, though I doubt she is being sent over from Ireland for nothing. Her win at Leopardstown was over the minimum trip of two miles and she could yet improve for this stamina test. I still narrowly prefer Balmusette for the forecast at least. Admirably consistent throughout her career to date, with two wins, three seconds, two thirds, and a fourth from just the nine runs, she deserves to run in to a place today and must have the heart (and attitude of a lion) – not the likely winner perhaps, but the most probable runner up at a price.
The final two in the market, Maypole Lass and Degenerous, both have a lot to find to have a chance here. The former has been continually held of marks of 112 and lower, and while her best performance has come in similar conditions it’s still not near enough to win this race. The latter has really struggled – winning a bumper before then seeming to lose her way over hurdles. A better performance last time out but she still needs to find a good 30 lengths on her last performance to be competitive.
Last updated 27th February.