3.45pm Doncaster Tips & Betting Preview 22/02/2017

An interesting race is certainly in prospect as eight plucky veterans go to post for the fourth race of the day at Doncaster, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: Saint Are is only 1lb above his mark when winning this race last year and if on a going day Ericht can be counted as a danger, but this looks likely to go to SEVENTH SKY. Back onto his last winning mark, Charlie Mann’s ten year old will find this much easier than the two competitive races he’s been faced with on his last two runs and with how well he was running earlier in the season, he could be hard to stop with conditions perfect for him. In form Gavin Sheehan takes the ride and he needs a huge amount of respect, and looks the likely winner today.

1 SAINT ARE – Best known for his exploits in the Grand National where he was a good second in the 2015 edition behind the great Many Clouds and won this race last season, though has been inconsistent this season. His best effort out of three was most certainly his third at Sandown where he was a close fifth behind Loose Chips in November (3m, Good). His only effort since was at Aintree in the Becher (3m 1f, Good to Soft) where he fell at the first fence. On a mark of 147, he should still be capable of a good effort even at the age of eleven, though his overall record of three wins from thirty over fences doesn’t help his case. Wouldn’t be a miss in the placings but others do make more appeal for win purposes.

2 SEVENTH SKY – In great form earlier this season with a good second at Bangor behind Valadom (3m Good to Soft) and a fourth in the Sefton Chase in December, and he understandable found it tough on his last two runs in much more competitive company, including the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock. He’s likely to find this much easier today and if back to the form of those two runs earlier in the season off a mark of 145, he’s likely to be very dangerous for Charlie Mann with Gavin Sheehan taking the ride. Has to be respected and looks the likely winner today.

3 SAMINGARRY – In good form in the spring back in 2015, winning at Chepstow (2m 7f, Good to Soft) but has struggled since returning this season. He was entitled to need the run at Doncaster when a well beaten seventh (2m 7f, Good), and had no real excuse when pulled up at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Still 2lb above his last winning mark and despite conditions suiting, he is hard to fancy in any capacity today. Nigel Hawke is in brilliant form at present and wouldn’t go amiss in the placings if back to his best, but others make far more appeal for win purposes.

4 ASTRACAD – Returned this season with a good win at Cheltenham in November (2m 4f, Good), knocking off Ericht on that occasion, though has been a mixed bag since that win. Never sighted after multiple mistakes in the Sefton Chase at Aintree (2m 5f, Good to Soft), he returned to form when second at Wetherby (2m 3f, Good to Soft), though couldn’t back that up when never threatening in the Vetreans’ Chase Final at Sandown when last seen (3m, Soft). Today’s trip is a concern on that basis, as there is no concrete evidence to suggest he stays this far. Conditions will suit so if staying he does have place claims, but it’s not hard to look past him today with all factors considered.

5 ERICHT – Has been stressful to follow on multiple occasions this season, finishing second twice. The first of those came on seasonal reappearance at Newbury when travelling reasonably well until being tackled three out (2m 3f, Good), and he was unlucky not to gun down Astracad at Cheltenham in November after a poor jump at the last (2m 4f, Good). Not so good when last seen at Kempton in January where his jumping wasn’t particularly impressive, so he does have questions to answer today for Nicky Henderson. Certainly interesting back up to this trip and he does stay, with Nico De Boinville taking the ride again. Still 6lb above his last winning mark and does need more today, but looks likely to go close and has to be respected.

6 KILLALA QUAY – Twice a winner over fences and his most impressive came when winning a Grade 2 at Kempton in February 2016, keeping on well to land the spoils (2m 4f, Good to Soft). He hasn’t however fulfilled his promise since then, pulling up on all three of his runs this season for Charlie Longsdon. At his best off a mark of 130 he’d be a tough opponent but impossible to put him forward in this vein of form and others are readily preferred in this.

7 COURT BY SURPRISE – Twelve year old who hasn’t necessarily been disgraced on some runs this season, though his second at Sandown when ahead of Saint Are remains his only real good effort from the season (3m, Good). Although sixth in the Veterans Final, he was well beaten and never looked particularly threatening throughout and needs more today if he’s to be threatening. Conditions will suit and Emma Lavelle has her yard in good order at present, so does have a live chance of placing now that he is 11lb below his last winning mark, but he is evidently not the horse of old.

8 BLUE KASCADE – Has been in good form this winter for Sandy Thompson, winning at Wetherby in October and despite a 8lb rise, he followed up in good style despite some errant jumps at Musselburgh (2m 7f, Good). His latest run at Kelso was undeniable poor, though he looked a non stayer and several mistakes didn’t help his cause on that occasion (3m 2f, Good to Soft). Remains on the same mark and needs more if he’s to threaten today, though Rachael McDonald’s 7lb claim will certainly be a help. Can’t be discounted if back to form and has to be respected.

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