The Flat is truly back as we get straight into the Lincoln meeting at Doncaster.
We have a hugely busy Saturday with ten selections, while punters should also look out for the debut performance of Carlton on Town Moor.
6.35 (AM) Randwick (Doncaster Mile – Group 1) – CONVERGE
This $4 million event is one of the top races in Australia. It’s Day One of The Championships at Royal Randwick in Sydney, this being the feature race on a card that also includes the Australian Derby.
The Doncaster Mile is a handicap race and that can either muddy the waters, or give something in the field a big chance.
Two weeks ago, we gave you Dubai Honour who scored well for William Haggas, while last week Montefelia lost out by the shortest of margins.
Haggas runs Group 3 winner Protagonist here and at the weights, he should be competitive along with Zougotcha, Fangirl and last year’s winner Mr Brightside.
The one I reckon has a bit in hand owing to recent improvement and solid form with Anamoe however is Converge and he is taken to land this massive pot for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
7.15 (AM) Randwick (Australian Derby – Group 1) – PERICLES
Godolphin and trainer James Cummings have had some great success in Australia in recent years. They may carry that on this Saturday with victory here for their Pericles.
Though much of the talk has been about Sharp ‘N’ Smart, it may be that James McDonald’s mount is simply the best horse and his main rival is also drawn out wide. Mazoice, Andalus and Elliptical made up the shortlist.
1.30 Kempton (Novice Stakes) – BURGLAR
At the time of writing Burglar’s tissue price was 7/4. Assuming he remains at backable odds, he has to be taken in this even giving away weight as he was so impressive on his racecourse debut.
By Cracksman, this colt is still in the Derby and could end up there yet. Assuming he wins this as he should from the likes of Incremental, Order Of Malta and My Lion, he would likely go for a trial somewhere in the next month or so. William Buick is at Kempton to take the ride on Secret State and has an excellent bonus mount here.
2.05 Kempton (Magnolia Stakes – Listed Race) – SECRET STATE
We don’t quite know what Fantom Flight can achieve just yet, especially after one particularly impressive handicap performance last season.
Belloccio is well fancied after a couple of course wins over longer distances, but based on everything we know for sure Secret State is the best horse in this race and should be winning it en route back into Group company this season.
3.00 Doncaster (Cammidge Trophy – Listed Race) – EL CABALLO
If he’s fully ready to go after a long break, four-year-old sprinter El Caballo can prove to be too good for this field.
As well as winning a Group 2 at Haydock, Karl Burke’s runner was a winner on soft ground and was excellent on the Tapeta at Newcastle so, all in all, these conditions should hold no worries.
He can take this before going back up into top Group company, ahead of Asjad, Fast Response and King’s Lynn.
3.15 Kempton (Queen’s Prize Handicap) – BANDINELLI
There are only six runners entered for this race and only £12,000 is being handed out to the winner, but rest assured this is a good staying handicap.
At a glance, it’s very close between a few of these with Aztec Empire understandably inserted as favourite. A closer look however reveals that over this trip around Kempton, the more impressive sectional speed has come from Bandinelli.
The plan may be to get this horse to the Northumberland Plate or something similar, starting with a good performance here.
3.35 Doncaster (Lincoln Handicap) – AL MUBHIR
Although he has been backed to a price I’d rather not have taken, Al Mubhir is the best of this bunch at the weights and has an outstanding chance.
His price collapse is due in part to our winning selection last week, Lattam, giving Haggas a win in the Irish Lincolnshire too.
This horse was considered a potential Classic colt last spring, he loves this ground, is well ahead of his handicap mark and has an ideal profile for the Lincoln.
Drawn up the near side is Wanees who too could have an excellent season, while plenty of money has come for Awaal this week.
4.10 Doncaster (Doncaster Mile – Listed Race) – POKER FACE
In this one-mile Listed race, we have quite the mixed bag. Experience Tempus is still quality, but he’s getting no younger and may not be at his best on this ground.
Toimy Son and Tacarib Bay are solid, while Imperial Fighter was looking like a quality three-year-old last year and can hit the ground running this term.
The suggestion however is the unbeaten Poker Face. Unbeaten in three starts, the Crisford runner appears to be improving at a rate of knots and could prove to be much better than a Listed horse in time. James Doyle rides.
7.00 Chelmsford (Cardinal Conditions Stakes) – BOLD ACT
There’s £100,000 up for grabs here, a race on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Iconic Moment, Brave Emperor and Alzahir are all solid enough performers and would be competitive in a Listed race, but then potential big-time performer is definitely Bold Act for Charlie Appleby and Harry Davies.
If he wins, it’s unsure whether he could/would go to Kentucky but it would certainly be an interesting move.
10.15 Gulfstream Park (Gulfstream Park Oaks – Grade 2) – SACRED WISH
I have nothing for either of the two hugely important Grade 1’s on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Arkansas and Florida Derbies, but this race may provide some evening value.
We’ve gone successfully for the last two winners of the Kentucky Oaks in Malathaat and Secret Oath and I reckon Javier Castellano’s mount Sacred Oath may just be heading in a similar direction.
She has form after only two runs and a maiden win that matches up with the best of this field, in fact it’s better than most of them. She will undoubtedly improve and should shine now upped in class under her excellent jockey.
Miracle was next on the list.