8.20pm Doncaster Tips & Betting Preview 20/07/2017

Nine runnings of this race have seen just the one winning favourite back in 2008 and others at odds of up to 16/1 while Michael Appleby is the only trainer to win this more than once so his runner here has to be of interest. Read on for our horse by horse race preview for the 8.20pm at Doncaster this evening.

IN SUMMARY: Never ignore a horse in top form and Pam Sly’s VERNATTI just keeps on going from strength to strength and seems unlikely to have finished winning just yet. He can prove too strong in the finish for First Voyage who could well be the biggest danger.

1 ENERGIA FOX – Put up to a new rating of 84 after winning over this sort of trip at Chester the son of Agnes Gold has been beaten over seven lengths in both races since, one each at Chester and then in a better race at Ripon. The quicker going expected here will certainly be in his favour and the drop back in class won’t harm his chances either while Connor Murtagh takes seven pounds off his back, but the Fahey yard could be in better form with just 8% recent winners which cannot be seen as a positive.

2 FIRST VOYAGE – Jockey William Buick will be planning to stay on board the son of Dubawi a fair bit longer this evening after unseating at the start last time out at Yarmouth. Prior to that he had finished a good third to Marmajuke Bay over further at Haydock when weakening late on and he ought to be far happier dropped back to this trip. He took his maiden at Nottingham over this trip last season as a three-year-old, and after just the five races has plenty of room for improvement, and with the Charlie Apply yard in great form (28% and a profit of over ten points), he comes here with every chance of adding to his sole success.

3 LEXINGTON LAW – Moved from Richard Hannon to Alan King for a hurdling career, he finished sixth at Ludlow in February but has been back on the flat for his three races since. After running on over a mile and a half when second at Wolverhampton he stepped up in trip at Haydock before weakening over a mile and six before dropping back to twelve furlongs when running on again. How he copes with ten furlongs is open to question and he may well be forced to change tactics and make the running rather than be outsprinted late on, in which case he won’t be running out of stamina and could take some catching under jockey Tom Marquand if he gets his fractions right of course.

4 VERNATTI – Clearly more at home on the turf than the all-weather, Pam Sly’s four-year-old filly has won her last two starts at Yarmouth and Leicester over this trip. Put up a huge eight pounds for the first victory, she shrugged that off in style with a three and a half length win since which seems to have annoyed the handicapper who has given her another eight pounds for her sins. Winning again for a yard without a winner in the last two weeks (from six runners) won’t be easy, but if she keeps on improving who is to say she cannot land her hat trick.

5 BOYCIE – The only course and distance winner in the field has already won twice this season, here in April and again at Sandown over this trip in May. Put up five pounds for that win he has finished second since at Haydock but was a little below expectations last time out when a five length seventh in this grade at Newbury when looking very one paced, and off the same rating today he may well struggle again.

6 PARISH BOY – Formerly with Jim Bolger in Ireland, those with long memories will remember talk of classics back in 2104 but those hopes failed to materialise and he is now with David Loughnane at his Shropshire base. Gelded in January, he has raced seven times since without as much as a place, he is dropping down the weights and has four pounds less today than when last seen when a twenty-seven length ninth of ten at Chester and needs to show some kind of a return to form before he can justify any sensible support.

7 TOGA TIGER – Eleven wins from sixty runs and over £50,000 in prize money now for the veteran yen-year-old who is now in the hands of Daniel Mark Loughnane having previously resided with Mick Channon, Paul Midgley, Jeremy Gask, and Kevin Frost until February this year. His three runs since have seen a third and a pair of fourth spots including last time out at Bath when beaten close to five lengths by Sunglider when failing to quicken up well enough when asked. Dropped two pounds for that, Richard Kingscote takes over in the saddle and although an unlikely winner, he may yet add another place to those already on his CV here.

8 DESERT WAY – Now with Rebecca Menzies after leaving the Ralph Beckett yard in April and the change of scenery seems to have worked with a pair of decent enough races at Pontefract and Thirsk when fourth and third respectively. Last time out she failed to build on those when only sixth at Beverley, over eleven lengths adrift at the line, and although dropped three pounds for that she looks to have plenty to find in this company for a stable struggling for winners.

9 SELLINGALLTHETIME – Trainer Michael Appleby has won this twice and will look to make it three with this consistent six-year-old gelding. Four runs this season have seen four places which have kept his handicap mark on the high side, though his last win was off a mark seven pounds higher back in 2015 so this is not beyond his abilities. He generally races over further than this so he may yet be run off his feet but the yard are doing OK with three recent winners and on his day he is more than capable of running well here.

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