John Gosden’s incredible campaign has encompassed all types of races and he could have another chance of taking a major handicap in the shape of Ben Vrackie in the Mallard Handicap, who was beaten by St Leger contender Maid Up last time at Goodwood. There is no shame in that defeat given that Maid Up had previously won the Lille Langtry, which produced the first and third in the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster Yesterday
He had previous beaten a previous winner by 11 lengths in a novice stakes at Lingfield and this big handicap, which is likely to be well run, ought to suit him more than a three-horse sprint. Nakeeta has proven disappointing for this column, but it is worth remembering that it’s less than a year ago when he was finishing fifth in the Melbourne Cup. Before that he’d won the Ebor at York and he’s had excuses since. On his return in the Chester Cup he was drawn to the outside and afterwards he was a staying on fifth in the JLT Handicap – his Ebor seventh was a disappointing effort in that light but the quality of that race is so rarefied is that this has to be considered to be a lesser contest and he’s worth chancing once again.
The Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (1.50) sees the ladies go first and whilst one can expect Laugh Aloud to shape a lot better for her return, Anna Nerium’s defeat of older horses at Goodwood is amongst the standout form and took her record over this trip to 3-4 here. Dan’s Dream will like the ground whilst Dancing Star was unlucky in the Oak Tree Stakes but Ellthea is of interest. She has been highly tried since taking the Park Stakes in Ireland but there was no shame in finishing seventh in the Pouliches or fifth in the Sandringham and the form of the latter has worked out quite well with second Crown Walk, winning the Group Three Prix Chloe since, and the third Efaadh winning the Group Three Prix de la Porte Maillot. She likes to cut but handles good ground and looks a rock solid each/way contender here.
The Flying Childers is a well contested race but the same applied to the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood and Rumbleinthejungle won that and won it well and his Norfolk fourth is shaping up well too. He looks a worthy favourite and has had just three starts, so hopefully would not have peaked just yet.
Legends Of War, a fine second in the Gimcrack, and a Indigo Balance, a gutsy winner of the Curragh Stakes over Gossamer Wings last time, could be chief threats although Solider’s Call ought to go well too.
The Doncaster Cup (3.35) looks far too trappy to contemplate and it is hard to take on Sangarius in the Weatherbys Global Stallions App Flying Scotsman Stakes (4.05), so it could be best to leave things there.
1.50 Doncaster – 1 pt win Anna Nerium (5/1 Paddy Power, 9/2 general)
1.50 Doncaster – 1 pt each/way Ellthea (10/1 Betfair, 9/1 general)
2.25 Doncaster – 2 pts win Rumbleinthejungle (2/1 Betfair, Paddy Power)
3.00 Doncaster – 2 pts each/way Ben Vrackie (Bet365, Hills)
3.00 Doncaster – 1 pt each/way Nakeeta (14/1 general)
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