1.20 Doncaster – Weatherbys Bank Foreign Exchange Flying Scotsman Stakes (Listed Race)

This doesn’t look like a vintage renewal by any means but something has got to win it and Richard Hannon looks to hold a strong hand. De Bruyne horse has been largely disappointing since landing the Woodcote in good style back in June but his best effort since then has come in similar conditions, when landing a Listed race over in France in early August. However, a 4lb penalty for that win makes him vulnerable.

Therefore, preference is for stablemate TIGRE DU TERRE, who carries the first colours of Middleham Park Racing. The Le Havre colt won easily on debut at Ascot and was sent off favourite in a Listed contest back there a fortnight later, only for greenness to play its part as he hung across the track and ruined his chance. He looked like he gained a lot from that effort last time out though, just fading late on in a decent Salisbury contest over a mile and should be suited by the drop back to seven furlongs here. With Ryan Moore aboard, he rates the one to beat.

Although still a maiden, Zaaki must come into consideration given his very respectable performances at Group level the last twice. This looks easier than his last couple of outings and he has a good chance of making the frame.

Of the remainder, Aqabah is weighted to win as the highest-rated horse in the field but he has a bit to find following a particularly modest effort (behind the re-opposing Zaaki) in the Superlative Stakes last time out. His close-up fifth in the Coventry is the best form on offer but the soft ground doesn’t look ideal for the American-bred colt.


TIGRE DU TERRE – 1pt win @ 100/30 (Paddy Power)

1.50 Doncaster – Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (Group 3)

It is fair to say that the Classic generation have dominated this race in recent seasons, with last year’s winner Spangled being the only older filly to win the race since 2007. They look to have a strong representation this time around including Talaayeb who got back to winning ways at York last month. Owen Burrows’ filly didn’t stay 1m2f on her penultimate start but she appreciated the drop back to 7f to land a first Group success on the Knavesmire. However, her trainer has indicated that she won’t run if it is soft, so it seems best to pass over her given the forecast.

Another three-year-old who is unlikely to be suited by soft ground is Unforgetable Filly who has won her last two starts for Hugo Palmer. She was withdrawn from the Matron Stakes last weekend as she was in season but her recent form would give her a leading chance. As well as the ground, she shoulders a 5lb penalty here on account of her win in Germany so it seems best to skip past her as well.

There are a few Irish raiders in the field, two of which, Drumfad Bay and Music Box, are closely matched on form. The latter got the better of Jessica Harrington’s filly when winning a Listed prize at Galway in August but the placings were reversed when the pair chased home Realtra on their most recent outings. Both should handle the ground and on their meetings so far, you would have to think they won’t be too far from each other tomorrow afternoon.

William Haggas’ On Her Toes has to be high on any shortlist, having won a Listed race at Ascot with cut in the ground earlier this season. Her two runs prior to that on quicker ground suggested that she was more effective on soft ground and that appeared to be the case as she showed a willing attitude to land the spoils.

However, she looks to have a bit to find with Tomyris who defied her inexperience to beat William Haggas’ filly at York in May. She found life tough in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot but performed creditably when third behind Al Jazi at Goodwood last time. That was only the fifth start of her career and with conditions likely to suit, she looks the pick of the three-year-olds to me.

There are however a couple of good older fillies in the lineup including Eternally who ran a fine race on her return to action at Goodwood last month. John Gosden’s filly had been off the track for nearly a year prior to that run but she turned in what was arguably a career best to finish second behind Al Jazi (just ahead of Tomyris). She seems pretty versatile in terms of ground and with that run likely to have brought her on, it is no surprise to see her towards the head of the market.

But the one I like the look of is PIROUETTE who made all to win a Listed race in good style in Germany last time. The fitting of blinkers seems to have squeezed a little bit more improvement from Hughie Morrison’s filly and she doesn’t have much to find with On Her Toes on their Ascot meeting in July. The filly she beat last time (Wild Approach) finished just behind Eternally and Tomyris in fourth at Goodwood and on official ratings, there are only two higher-rated fillies in the line-up (Talaayeb and Unforgetable Filly). She should have no trouble handling the ground and I think she has a strong each-way chance.


PIROUETTE – 1pt e/w @ 8/1 (bet365) (1/4 odds)

2.25 Doncaster – Wainwrights Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2)

In terms of official figures and all known form, this looks to be a match race between HAVANA GREY and Heartache. Karl Burke’s colt has won four of his seven starts this season but including two Listed prizes and one Group 3. That Group 3 came on soft ground at Goodwood in the Molecomb and having seen off subsequent Group 3 winner Invincible Army on that occasion, the form looks solid. He may have found 6f stretching his stamina in the Prix Morny last time but he was still only beaten just over a length and he looks a leading player here. His form on soft ground is the deciding factor for me in what are likely to be attritional conditions and I think this game colt can land another big prize here.

Clive Cox’s filly is clearly very talented, having won by six lengths on debut before running away with the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot next time. She performed a little below expectations in the Prix Robert Papin the last time we saw her but the winner has since won a Group 1 so the run might not have been as bad as first appeared. Her trainer is on record as saying she is unlikely to run if Doncaster get any more rain but having been so devastating on fast ground at the Royal meeting, it is no surprise that connections wouldn’t want the ground any softer. If the race were being run on good ground my view might be slightly different but on soft ground, I think the one to be with is Karl Burke’s colt.

Of the rest, most of the field look to have plenty to find with the front two, although Pursuing The Dream did manage a Listed success in August. The filly has four and a half lengths to find on Heartache from Royal Ascot and although she handles cut, I find it hard to see her troubling the front two.

The one who could outrun her odds is Yogi’s Girl who won twice in the early part of the season before finishing a good fourth behind Eirene at Newbury in August. She showed up well for a long way that day before tiring late on but was beaten less than four lengths at the line. She was collared close home at Chester a couple of weeks ago over 6f, but she is likely to be suited by the drop back to the minimum trip and she could run better than her odds suggest.


HAVANA GREY – 2pts win @ 6/4 (SkyBet)

3.00 Doncaster – William Hill Mallard Handicap.

The weather seems to have had a large effect on this race in particular with just seven runners declared for what is often a competitive big-field handicap. Having said that, there it looks competitive enough as a case can be made for just about all seven runners.

The weights are headed by Elidor who despite running below-par at York last time, has been in good form of late in Listed and Group company. Mick Channon’s seven-year-old won the Listed Further Flight Stakes at the beginning of the season and his third in Group 2 company at The Curragh in July was just about a career best. However, most of his best form has come on a sound surface and conceding at least 7lb to the whole field could be a tough ask.

Brian Ellison’s Seamour was collared close home in this race twelve months ago but his last two runs have left plenty to be desired. He was only beaten five lengths in the Northumberland Plate but his latest effort in the Ebor was a disappointing one. He continues to come down the weights and is 2lb lower this time around but he needs the switch to soft ground to bring about a return to form.

Another struggling for form at present is Shrewd but as we have seen already this season, his trainer Iain Jardine is an astute operator. The seven-year-old wasn’t actually beaten that far at York last time but you have to go back to his second in the Ebor last year to find his last decent run. He too continues to fall down the weights but it is hard to be too enthused about his chances here.

Penglai Pavilion is an interesting runner having run with plenty of credit on his return to action at York last month. His fourth over 2m was his first run since coming back from Australia but he looked as though a stronger test of stamina would suit him next time. It is therefore interesting that he drops back in trip here but the ground shouldn’t be a problem and he is entitled to strip fitter for his return to action.

James Fanshawe’s Lord George is likely to be popular with many punters having finished a good fourth in the Northumberland Plate back in July. I think you can put a line through his last run in France as he was never travelling and this race looks more suitable for him. The ground presents something of a question mark as his wins to date have either come on the all-weather or on fast ground on turf. His pedigree suggests that he should be able to cope with these testing conditions and if he does, he is likely to be right in the mix.

Byron Flyer has been knocking on the door of late and having finished second on his last three starts, surely his turn is not too far away. He has been beaten a head, a neck and a neck on each of those starts and although he continues to creep up the handicap, it might not take too much improvement for him to get his head in front. His trainer Ian Williams has fitted the gelding with cheekpieces here which could help and the booking of Ryan Moore is an eye-catching one. He has won on soft ground in the past and he looks a major player here.

However, the one I like the look of is TIME TO STUDY who has form with some of the leading 3yos this season. He was third behind Defoe in the London Gold Cup earlier in the season but has improved since stepping up in trip, winning at Musselburgh before finishing fifth in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Three of the four horses who finished in front of him that day have won since including Stradivarius who won the Goodwood Cup and that form looks rock solid. He seemed to find Haydock too sharp for him last Saturday but the way he stayed on to the line suggests this more galloping track will be right up his street. If he were a 4yo he would be carrying 9st 4lb but due to the weight-for-age allowance, he gets in here off 8st 8lb. I suspect we haven’t seen the best of this colt yet and as long as this race doesn’t come too soon, I think he is the one to beat here.


TIME TO STUDY – 1pt win @ 4/1 (Stan James)

3.35 Doncaster – Doncaster Cup Stakes (Group 2)

Montaly looks likely to go off favourite here on the back of his last ditch win in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup at York last month but I think he looks vulnerable conceding weight all round and the percentage call is to take him on. Sheikhzayedroad, High Jinx and Thomas Hobson were behind him at York but all arrive on better terms and could well reverse the form.

However, preference is for the horse that finished just a length behind him in the Chester Cup and now receives a 6lb pull at the weights, FUN MAC. The six-year-old was sent off as short as 5/1 for this race two years ago, when fourth to the re-opposing Pallasator, and bounced back to form over in France last time when outpointing stablemate Vent de Force in a Listed contest. Hughie Morrison’s charge looks to have a bit to find on official ratings but he will be more suited to the conditions than most in this and I think he has a solid each-way chance as the outsider of the field.

The one to fear most could well be Desert Skyline who receives a very handy weight-for-age allowance. The three-year-old has been in good form without getting his head in front this campaign and built on his decent third in the Goodwood Cup with a solid second in a Deauville Group 2 last time out. He looks as though he will stay this extra couple of furlongs in front of him here but the forecast ground is likely a lot slower than anything he has faced as yet and the fact he has finished runner-up on three of his six starts this season is a bit of a worry.


FUN MAC – 1pt e/w @ 16/1 (bet365) (1/4 odds)

4.05 Doncaster – Gary Reid Memorial British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

Those with form in the book look opposable here so a chance is taken on the well-entered GHAIYYATH. He is one of a number with a Derby entry but is also engaged in both the Royal Lodge and Racing Post Trophy which suggests he could be a bit more forward than his rivals here. Charlie Appleby’s colt is regally-bred being by Dubawi out of Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Nightime and is a half-brother to numerous winners include Grade 1 scorer Zhukova. The ground could be a leveller but a couple of her siblings have acted on an easy surface and he should be up to winning this if he is to live up to his €1.1million price tag as a foal.

The biggest dangers look likely to come from the John Gosden yard, who struck with Glencadam Glory 12 months ago. Military Law holds a Derby entry and looks bred to be useful but stablemate Tiffin Top could be the one to cause the selection most problems. The son of Oasis Dream is related to a few useful sorts on the flat (and talented hurdler Thunder Zone) and while he looks sure to be better over further in time, this 1m in testing ground could well bejust what he needs at this stage of his career.


GHAIYYATH – 2pts win @ 7/4 (bet365)

4.35 Doncaster – Lakeside Village Outlet Shopper Handicap.

Despite the lack of numbers, this looks a tricky little handicap to try and solve. But with little solid recent form on show, MUNTADAB gets the nod on the back of his decisive win at Haydock last week. Roger Fell’s charge virtually led from pillar-to-post seven days ago and kicked clear in authoritative fashion into an unassailable lead approaching the final furlong. Testing ground is the key to him, which he looks set to have here and he is officially 1lb well-in with a 6lb penalty for his latest success.

Normandy Barriere was successful in this 12 months ago and struck off his mark of 96 earlier in the season but he has shown all his best form on faster ground and looks up against it here. The same applies to Medici Banchiere who would be of interest on his first start for being gelded had he been running on a sounder surface.

The biggest danger to the selection could well be Tropics if he bounces back to anywhere near his best form. The one-time very smart sprinter hasn’t been at his best since returning from almost two years off the track in May but has been freefalling down the handicap and now finds himself on his lowest mark for over four years. We know he handles testing ground having finished runner-up to Gordon Lord Byron in a heavy-ground British Champions Sprint Stakes back in 2014 and this is by far his easiest assignment since returning from injury.


MUNTADAB – 1pt win @ 3/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)

5.10 Doncaster – Coopers Marquees Classified Stakes.

The final race of the day is this Classified Stakes which was won last year by Sir Michael Stoute’s Khairaat. The master of Freemason Lodge is represented this year by Pivoine who got back to winning ways when returned to the all-weather last time. The three-year-old stayed on well on that occasion to land the spoils but for all he looks open to further progress, the return to turf would be something of a concern. Both of his wins to date have come on the all-weather and he now has to prove he can be as effective on turf.

Few horses have been in better form than Swilly Sunset this term as the four-year-old rattled off a four-timer between June and August. In fact, he was only beaten a head in pursuit of the five-timer last time and despite being raised 5lb subsequently, he has to come into the reckoning once again. He has already shown he handles all types of ground and with Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle once again, he is unlikely to be too far away.

One of the more experienced members of the field is Michael Bell’s Three Duchesses who won twice back in July. Having run below-par at Goodwood on her penultimate start, she ran with plenty of credit last time but the worry would be that her bad run came on soft ground. The 7lb claim of Tristan Price is likely to be valuable in this contest but she needs to prove she handles this sort of ground.

Sir Mark Prescott’s Turning Gold looked an improving sort when winning twice in quick succession in July but failed to fire the last time we saw him. It could be that was one race too many for the gelding who had won by eight lengths on his penultimate start and he looks an interesting contender returning from a break. He should have no trouble with the soft ground but this will be his first time tackling 1m2f.

Another one stepping up in trip is Rebel Cause who left a lot to be desired on his return to action in August. That was the gelding’s first run for over a year and he shaped well for a long way before getting very tired in the closing stages. He should have benefitted physically for that return to action and having run well over a mile here on good to soft in the past, he could be one to keep an eye on.

However, the one who gets the nod is LAWLESS SECRET who caused something of a surprise when winning at 80/1 on her racecourse debut. Having said that, her jockey has said that she wasn’t unfancied by the yard and they were pleased to see her run so well. The key to this filly could be the ground as she was reported to relish the cut in the ground at Windsor last time. She has to prove that her debut success was no fluke but Simon Crisford is a trainer I have plenty of respect for and in a tight heat, she looks worth a small bet to maintain her unbeaten record.


LAWLESS SECRET – 1pt win @ 100/30 (bet365)