4.10pm Doncaster tips for Friday’s race. Nine runners are due to go to post here (so each way one to three with a bit of luck). Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
IN SUMMARY: Trainer Harry Fry may be better known for his training exploits over jumps but he has GOLDEN BIRTHDAY in great form on the flat and he didn’t look as if his winning run was about to end anytime soon when scoring at Kempton last time out. He seems likely to be able to shrug off the handicappers’ attentions once again this afternoon with Fran Berry back in the saddle.
1 CONTINUUM – Clearly has his issues and hasn’t been seen on the racecourse since finishing second to The Graduate here in August last year. Clearly pretty decent when he is fit and ready to go but may well improve for the rustiness of over a year off this afternoon and perhaps best watched for the moment off a new rating of 91, though he has won off of higher, albeit back in 2014.
2 BERRAHRI – A real money spinner for the John Best stable with victories at St Moritz on the snow as well as at Lingfield on the polytrack, Epsom on Good ground, and most recently Chester on Good to Soft turf in late July. Those wins were over trips from a mile to one mile five and a half furlongs so he truly is a jack of all trades, though he does have six pounds more than he has carried to victory so far, and it may be what stops him again this afternoon.
3 GREAT SOUND – First time cheekpieces are applied by John Gosden to the son of Galileo who has won two of his four starts and was clearly all at sea on heavy ground last time out at Haydock when a fifteen length sixth of ten to Taxmeifyoucan in a race easily forgiven, and if he improves again back on better going he ought to be a major player here with Robert Havlin in the saddle.
4 GOLDEN BIRTHDAY – Four hurdle wins and one in a bumper were followed by a switch to the flat by trainer Harry Fry back in September when he beat Lester Kris in a Leicester maiden over a mile and a half on heavy going. Sent handicapping he took a Class Four handicap on the Kempton all-weather over the same trip running on strongly to get on top late on, and with the added distance here likely to bring further improvement he can certainly get involved in the finish with Fran Berry retaining the ride.
5 KENSINGTON STAR – Blinkers didn’t seem to help last time when the four-year-old finished a thirteen length seven at Hamilton over a mile and a half but they are instantly discarded and cheekpieces return. Put up to a rating of 85 after winning at Carlisle in June he has struggled ever since and although dropped two pounds for his last effort, he may need to be lowered again before seriously threatening in the finish.
6 MULTELLIE – Hardly seen at all when you consider hoe late in the season we are and three races in 2017 have yet to see a place and his fourth to Stamford Raffles at Haydock last time out still leaves him with an awful lot to find, and he needs to get back to his better form if he wasn’t to get involved in the finish here for trainer Tim Easterby even with Rachel Richardson’s useful three pounds claim.
7 KEY BID – Godolphin’s gelding wears blinkers but looks to have plenty of ability when he sees fit to use it all of course. The son of Dubawi was put up seven pounds after winning easily over this sort of trip at Chester in August but failed to follow up over two miles at the same track on heavy ground, where it looked as if he failed to see it out before going down by just the length and a half. He could be a lot happier back at this trio and on a better surface as well and ought to be able to put in a decent challenge at least under the excellent James Doyle.
8 ZAIDIYN – Hard to make a good argument for after just the one run in the last eighteen months when a sixteen length tenth of fourteen to Royal Associate at Ascot over the mile and a half. That was in July and the fact that he hasn’t been seen since is hardly a positive and although connections persevere (and good luck to them), he needs to show some recent form before he can be suggested as a winner.
9 ICEFALL – First-time cheekpieces and a first timer tongue tie for the son of Frozen Power who looks as if he may will be the Tim Easterby first string with David Allan riding. He did win at Beverley in September 2016 but not in six races since, five of them this season, and although dropping down the handicap (he won off 82 and races off 76 this afternoon), he has looked a shadow of his former self recently and needs to at least show signs of a revival before he can be seriously considered.