This is a really good 1m 2 1/2f contest at Doncaster, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Plenty of handicap debutantes in this but KHALIDI can take advantage of a mark of 93 and go in on his seasonal reappearance. He will improve for today’s step up in trip and he’s already won a Class 2 handicap so he should be able to get the better of these today for a trainer in form. Bin Battuta is one to keep an eye on having struggled in a Group 2 race last year whilst Mushaireb is open to a huge amount of progression.
1 KHALIDI – 170,000GNS purchase as a yearling and he’s shown plenty of ability to date with two victories to his name in a maiden and a Class 2 handicap towards the end of last season. He’s by High Chaparral and he steps up in trip which should unlock plenty more improvement in him and he’s likely to be at the fore of the betting in this. A mark of 93 may be underestimating his talent and he could win again here today if he’s ready off a break. Respected.
2 WESTERN DUKE – Another High Chaparral colt (43,000 Euro purchase) who ran to a modest level last season. He was beaten by 3/4 of a length at Ripon over a mile which was very disappointing given it came off a mark of 84 in a 3-runner contest. The handicapper has put him up another 5lbs for that effort which looks harsh and others make more appeal although this step up in trip will suit.
3 DEVIL’S BRIDGE – One of the most experienced runners in this field and he showed himself to be of a modest ability last season over a mile and slightly further. He should stay this extra distance if the ground dries up slightly although he is yet to win on the turf and he’s vulnerable to a number of improving types here. Yard are in cracking form of late (25% strike rate last 14 days) but others make more appeal.
4 BIN BATTUTA – Related to some lovely types and a run in Group company may have just found him out on only his second start. He’s been off since then so there’s a little question mark as to how he has fared over that time but he won his maiden and a mark of 85 could leave him with something to work off here. Impossible to ignore on handicap debut.
5 CELESTIAL SPHERES – Scraped home by a short head on his final start of last season in first time cheekpieces. That was off a mark of 83 having placed off 80 previously and he should do better having been gelded over the winter. The step up in trip looks an ideal move at this stage although a 2lb higher mark looks enough to hold him at this stage and he’s best watched on seasonal return.
6 FIRST NATION – Charlie Appleby’s first choice runner here and he’s an unexposed type who won at the second time of asking at Wolverhampton. That came in a Class 5 Wolverhampton maiden and whilst the form doesn’t look out of the ordinary, he should come on a lot for the experience and the longer trip will suit. Not one to be too confident about based on the form and best watched off this mark.
7 FLOOD WARNING – Lovely filly who has won two races to date in weaker company than this. She’s been raised 7lbs for a 3/4 of a length victory last time out which looks slightly on the high side for what she’s achieved to date but she’s clearly improving and arrives here with race fitness on her side. Yard have a disappointing strike rate of 10% here and they’re without a winner in the last fortnight.
8 BUSH HOUSE – He’s run in two 1m 1 1/2f maidens to date and finished second on racecourse debut before winning next time out. He took a step forward to get the better of a decent enough rival last time out and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares off an opening mark of 81 in much tougher company. There was plenty of money around for him on his last run so the market could prove useful here.
9 MUSHAIREB – 105,000GNS yearling who’s the most inexperienced runner in this with just one win to his name. He was awarded a maiden in the steward’s room on his sole start having been badly hampered and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares here stepped up in trip by 3 furlongs. Yard are in good recent form and an opening mark of 81 should be workable for a stable that may have big plans for this horse.
10 NATIVE PROSPECT – Sole victory came in a Southwell maiden in February when sent off the 10/11 favourite. He had been beaten off a mark of 69 on handicap debut last season and he now races off a mark of 80 having looked to improve over the winter. By Bated Breath so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles this trip but his trainer has been in solid form of late (17% strike rate) and another to look for market clues.