A field of six go to post for the third race of the day at Doncaster on Friday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Banny’s Lad is likely to be a popular choice, but he represents no value and does have a penalty to contend with, so therefore it looks to be worth siding with GROOMED. A winner at Newcastle four starts ago, he hasn’t been at his best in three subsequent runs, but is now down to his last winning mark again and has conditions to suit. Sue Smith and Danny Cook both remain in great form and he has proven he stays this far on multiple occasions in the past. He looks set for a big run now back up in trip and has to be respected.
1 TIQUER – Nine year old who has been improving in recent times, winning well at Uttoxeter in November (2m 4f, Soft) and despite a 7lb rise, he wasn’t disgraced when finishing third at Exeter on New Year’s Day (2m 3f, Soft). Remains on the same mark today and he does remain with potential as a lightly raced sort, with conditions to suit and Noel Fehily taking the ride. Has to be respected though he does need more if he’s to take this for Alan Jones.
2 KINGS CROSS – Running well last season, winning at Lingfield (2m 4f, Heavy) and ending off the campaign finishing a close second at Newbury in April, going down by a nose (2m 6f, Good to Soft). Now only a pound above his last winning mark, but that is only because he has been very poor this season, last seen tailed off over hurdles at Warwick (2m, Heavy). Has the potential to go well off this mark but others make far more appeal, as he remains very risky on what he has shown this season.
3 GROOMED – Battled on gamely after being headed to get back up at Newcastle in December (2m, Soft) and although he has been poor in three subsequent efforts, he is now back down to his last winning mark. Conditions are to suit and going back up in trip is likely to suit, so he certainly isn’t one to discount at present for in form Sue Smith and Danny Cook combination. He holds every chance and has to be respected, as if back to anywhere near his best, he’ll be dangerous off this mark.
4 PREMIER GRAND CRU – Lightly raced eleven year old whose last chasing win came way back in November 2014, albeit only six starts ago at Doncaster (2m 3f, Good to Soft). Now 13lb below that mark but he hasn’t been impressing this season, last seen well beaten at Sedgefield in February, despite finishing third (3m 5f, Soft). Clearly well treated on the best of his form but he does remain risky at present, and needs to take a step forward. Conditions are to suit and he can’t be fully discounted, but backing him isn’t for the faint hearted, despite Brian Hughes retaking the ride.
5 BANNY’S LAD – Capitalised on a career low mark over fences when romping home at Sedgefield (2m 3f, Heavy) last week, and if the same vain of form today he would be incredibly dangerous even under a penalty. Ground versatile and lightly raced for his age, he looks likely to run another brilliant race for the in form Tim Easterby yard with Harry Bannister claiming 5lb. Likely to be a short price but he probably warrants it, and has to be respected.
6 RIVER PURPLE – Five time winner over fences but hasn’t been showing anywhere near his best for a while now. He returned this season when pulled up at Ludlow in February and makes little appeal again today despite being dropped 12lb in the handicap. Conditions are fine and so is the trip, but his last win came back in May 2015 and he looks very unlikely to be returning to winning ways today.