The good news yesterday was that 8 runners made it to the post; the bad news was I didn’t come close to finding the winner. Just the Portland to close out this year’s Doncaster St Leger meeting and I can safely say this year has seen the smallest field size for handicaps in my memory, and that goes back to 1956 or so! It would be nice to get back on a winning track, but while I have had a Portland winner or two, they have been few and far between – so be warned!
Doncaster 13.50 Cl 2 Hcap 374 (97.2) 5.5f gd/fm – 22 Run
3yo = 2lbs wfa allowance
Last year – 374 (94.8) gd – 21 ran
A Momentofmadness 25/1 5-9-4 (99) Dr 18 by 0.75l from Encrypted 20/1 3-9-1 (98) Dr 11
Wentworth Falls 14/1 6-8-13 (94) Dr 8 was 1.5l 3rd
Muscika 25/1 4-8-7 (91) Dr 5 was 1.8l 5th
Open Wide 12/1 4-8-12 (93) Dr 13 was 4.9l 15th
Orvar 20/15-9-2 (97) Dr 19 was 6.4l 16th
A Momentofmadness 6-8-13 (95) Dr 13 (93.6)
21 Aug Cl 2 Hcap (436/97.0) 5.5f gd York 22/1 9-1 1.25l 6/22 off 95 – 93.6
led overall centre, ridden and headed approaching final furlong, no extra
Runs off a 4lbs lower mark than when taking last year’s renewal, but had not shown the same form this term until a better effort over this trip at York lto; would still need to build on that to match last year’s level, but has to be considered despite being 6yo.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); form run lto (24 days); down 2lbs (wt); double digit draw;
Minus: age (?);
Verdict: could well be targeted at this and although a 6yo, a potential contender from a double digit draw.
Green Power 4-9-2 (98) Dr 19 (91.9)
23 Aug Cl 2 Hcap (189/93.9) 6f gd Good 4/1 9-6 0.02l 1/7 off 96 – 91.9
made all, ridden over 1f out, held on gamely, all out
Has doubled his win tally with successes over 5f and 6f at Goodwood the last twice, just getting the better of Embour (-1) with Open Wide (+1) back in 4th; meets both on 1lb worse terms today, plus doesn’t have the best of records in big field hcaps, his first Goodwood success in a 13-runner field being the biggest field to date.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); course (F); form run lto (22 days); down 4lbs (wt); double digit draw;
Minus: up 2lbs (OR);
Verdict: may have problems confirming Goodwood running here as has yet to show same form in larger fields, so not the strongest contender perhaps
Justanotherbottle 5-9-3 (99) Dr 21 (98.5)
31 Aug Cl 3 Hcap (124/89.2) 5f gd/fm Sand 4/1 Jt F 9-9 0.05l 1/11 off 95 – 85.2
fast away from wide draw and went to rail, made all, pushed along halfway, ridden and 2 lengths ahead over 1f out, held on gamely, all out
Won twice early season last year but career best was when just denied in the Stewards Cup off 101; has had a more measured approach and his 5th in the Stewards Cup was only his 3rd not 7th start; has improved since, leading into the final furlong before being swamped by Dakota Gold and a number of today’s field over this trip at York last month; returned to the winner’s enclosure 10 days later when dropped to Cl 3 at Goodwood and making all over 6f from his wide draw and just holding on; suspect he has come on for that and will take the 4lbs rise in his stride, especially with Frankie booked.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); course (W); form run lto (14 days); down 6lbs (wt); double digit draw;
Minus: up 4lbs; up in class;
Verdict: looks like this may be the target and with Frankie booked to make the most of his high draw, a contender.
Embour 4-9-0 (96) Dr 8 (92.4)
31 Aug Cl 3 Hcap (124/89.2) 5f gd/fm Sand 4/1 Jt F 9-10 1.05l 3/11 off 96 – 82.2
raced keenly, held up in mid-division, headway between horses over 1f out, ridden in 3rd and kept on same pace inside final furlong, never going pace to challenge
23 Aug Cl 2 Hcap (189/93.9) 6f gd Good 7/2 9-5 0.02l 2/7 off 95 – 92.4
chased winner, ridden over 1f out, strong challenge throughout final furlong, just failed
Has had another good season in winning 3 times so far and nearly made it a fourth when only just going down to Green Power (+1) at Goodwood last month, with favourite Open Wide (+2) 0.5l back in 4th; found 5f perhaps a little on the sharp side the following week when 3rd to Justanotherbottle (-1) in a Cl 3 at Sandown the following week and will likely find today’s trip more to his liking.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (F); form run lto (14 days); down 10lbs (wt);
Minus: draw (?);
Verdict: was staying on well off 1lb lower in the Wokingham and this trip may prove ideal, although could be better drawn, a contender.
Bielsa 4-8-11 (93) Dr 18 (80.9)
30 Aug Cl 3 Hcap (374/97.2) 6f gd/sf Thir 9/2 F 9-3 0.1l 1/16 off 87 – 80.9
tracked leaders, led over 1f out, pressed inside final furlong, ran on
Unbeaten 4yo winning on debut over 6f at Redcar last October and over 6f here on his return in May; completed his hat-trick on his hcap debut at Thirsk last month and now moves up into the big time; has scope for improvement, of course, but one has to worry about his lack of experience, especially just the 2 starts this year.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (W); form run lto (15 days); down 6lbs (wt); double digit draw;
Minus: class (?); up 6lbs (OR); up in class;
Verdict: can’t discount as unbeaten, but upped significantly in both mark and class, which raised doubts about his strength as a contender.
Another of those big field sprints with loads of past stats to help cut the field down to size, although one will surely not apply this year to make life difficult.
For starters, 5yo and 4yo horses have dominated affairs taking 11/13, while there hasn’t been a 3yo winner since 2001. All the last 13 winners had had at least 3 runs in the current season coming from a Cl 3+ lto, plus had won a race of at least 10 runners. Only 1/13 hadn’t run within the last 42 days, the same number that didn’t carry between 8-11 and 9-7. An interesting one is that 16/17 winners were coming from a race at Doncaster, Goodwood, Haydock, Ripon, Sandown or York, while 14/16 were drawn in stall 9 or above.
From the above, you can see why I didn’t look much further at Oxted, Dazzling Dan, Muthmir, Wentworth Falls, Marnie James, Arecibo, Makanah and others; not that it made things a whole lot easier!
I did look at Bielsa and while he’s unbeaten to date I don’t see enough to suggest he can win this going up in class off a 6lbs higher mark. He may prove me wrong, but doesn’t feature in my final list. Green Power may be in form, but has not shown me enough to suggest he can win a win a big field sprint at this level, especially as he’d be completing a hat-trick, so despite scoring top on the trends out he goes too. That leaves with last year’s winner A Momentofmadness, Justanotherbottle and Embour, while I would not put anyone off the consistent Open Wide. Embour is not the best drawn, but Poet’s Place won from stall 7 in 2010, so upsets can happen. However, I’d prefer to go with Justanotherbottle from A Momentofmadness with Embour and perhaps Open Wide making the frame. I’ll be happy if one does!
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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