The ground was described as a mixture of soft and good to soft at Doncaster on Sunday morning for today’s feature meeting with temperatures set to rise to a barmy six or seven degrees. Further showers are likely.
The 2m 4f Maiden Hurdle is competitive and Hoi Polloi will need to jump better than he did at Hereford on his hurdles debut to go one better in this field. A winner of his sole Bumper at Kempton back in February, he may need better ground.
Trainer Paul Nicholls had a magnificent seven winners on Saturday at cumulative odds of 10,419/1 and saddles the winning pointer Broken Halo (1.05) who makes his debut under rules after a 635-day absence since that win between the flags. The former champion trainer should know where he stands with Alan King’s Royal Pretender who finished behind Nicholls’ Danny Kirwan at Ascot when last seen in November.
The selection – 2s with Boylesports – cost £110.000 at Cheltenham’s horses-In-training sales back in the spring of 2019 and the hope is that connections’ patience is rewarded. A market move for Nicky Henderson’s well-bred newcomer Valsheda would be worth noting.
L’Incorrigible is unbeaten in two career starts having won a Warwick Bumper on debut before defying a two-year lay-off to win over today’s C&D. He was very keen here last month and should be less fresh this afternoon, but he will do well to concede 7lbs to Truckers Pass (2.05) who can end a frustrating sequence of seconds.
The Philip Hobbs-trained runner – 11/8 from 9/4 with 10bet – threw away his chance at Ffos Las on his hurdles debut when jumping violently out to the left over the last couple of flights. That was his fourth successive second placed finish – one point and two Bumpers also – and you are beginning to run out of excuses for the horse but the winner – Do Your Job – is now rated 136 and the run came at a time when the stable were largely out of sorts.
In the 3m 2f handicap chase the market is headed by Shanty Alley could hardly have been more impressive when scoring at Uttoxeter last time but the handicapper has had his say and he will need to improve again to defy an 11lbs rise.
There are races to be won with Whatsdastory who ran well on her chase debut at Southwell last month and has been dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper. Garrane was no match for Benevolentdictator at Plumpton last time but the winner is a chaser to follow. That said he continues to frustrate although he is fitted with a first-time visor this afternoon..
The each way vote, however, goes to the top-weight Big Nasty (2.40) who ran a terrific race at Wetherby coming back from a 9-month absence last month. He is well treated on the form of his second at Uttoxeter last January and the Martin Keighley/James Best axis had a winner at Chepstow on Saturday. The selection is 9s (from 10s) with William Hill.
Only four go to post for the Beginners Chase at Hereford but I hope to see Milanford (1.50) go one better than when runner up in a Grade 2 at Doncaster last month when his jumping was excellent. Nick Mitchell’s 7-y-old – 6/5 with BetVictor – would appreciate better ground but he has 8lbs and more in hand of his three rivals and I would be disappointed if he did not make it third time lucky over fences.