It’s another weekend where the weather is likely to play a big role. Cheltenham is set to hosts Trials Day, but with a Friday inspection booked in, things aren’t looking good at Prestbury Park.
If they do have to abandon the meeting, Doncaster will take up the mantle as the feature card. The venue hosts four pattern races, including a trio of Grade 2 races.
We’ll have horse racing tips for all the action, including all those on ITV Racing, but I’ve put together what I believe to be a strong monster 177/1 Acca for the action up North. You can find all the selections, along with the reasoning, right below!
1.30 Doncaster – Shishkin
It certainly doesn’t take a genius, but Shishkin isn’t opposable in the Lightning Novices’ Chase. The Arkle favourite has been imperious in two chasing starts, including a recent Grade 2 domination at Kempton.
His jumping has been frighteningly good and an RPR of 170 for that Kempton success tells the story perfectly. He sets the form standard by thirteen pounds and even if he was to run below his best, he’ll take this contest in very comfortable fashion.
2.05 Doncaster – Marie’s Rock
Another race, and likely another Nicky Henderson winner. Floressa has been in superb form this season, returning with a Listed Handicap success at Newbury in comfortable fashion. She was ahead of stable-mate Marie’s Rock that day, but I fancy that rival to reverse the placings on this occasion.
Unbeaten in her opening two hurdling starts, she was an impressive winner of a Listed contest for the latter success. She had a nightmare race at Newbury on seasonal return, pulling far too hard and badly hampered when looking held after the second-last.
That effort is forgivable, however, and she should show the benefits of race fitness on Saturday. She’ll handle the softer ground better than her stable-mate and she is fitted with headgear, which will hopefully help her settle better.
She had a sizeable reputation after her opening successes and partnered by the in-form Tom Cannon, she can get back on track at the expense of Floressa.
2.40 Doncaster – Pats Fancy
A winner on hurdling debut at Ffos Las in November, Pats Fancy ran far better than the bare result when second in a Cheltenham Grade 2 subsequently.
The aforementioned Bristol Novices’ Hurdle was run at a very steady pace and with the final hurdle omitted, it turned into a dash up the straight. That didn’t suit Pats Fancy, who was outpaced early in the straight before staying on towards the finish.
This race is almost guaranteed to be run at a stronger clip, which will mean we can see his true potential over the three-mile distance. The form of his debut victory was boosted last week too, with Gladiateur Allen winning at Ascot.
He’ll relish the softer going and this promising six-year-old looks overpriced for Sean Bowen and Rebecca Curtis.
3.15 Doncaster – Canelo
Highly progressive this season, Canelo has won two of his four starts, gaining the biggest success of his career when landing the Rowland Meyrick on Boxing Day. It was a superb performance, tanking into his return to the three-mile distance.
He was still on the bridle over the second-last, digging in gamely on the run-in to wrestle the race away from Snow Leopardess. He’s gone up six pounds for that victory, but that isn’t a harsh rise given the manner of his success.
He remains unexposed over the three-mile distance and his form figures on ground that is soft or worse reads 254311. A slog in the mud is right up his alley and he’s thoroughly unexposed as a stayer for in-form connections.
He’ll get a strong pace to aim at and with Tom Cannon riding with supreme confidence, he’s likely to be delivered to perfection for a strong challenge late on.