Doncaster Tips and Racecourse Guide
One of the oldest racecourses in the UK, Doncaster hosts 36 race meetings each year. A dual-purpose racecourse, the feature event of the year is the St Leger Festival in September. The Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy for two year olds can be a big pointer to the following season’s Classics.
Over jumps, the course has five Grade 2 events, including notable trials for the big spring Festivals.
12:30pm – Champagne Stakes (Group 2)
Three horses are set to line up in the Group Two Champagne Stakes for two-year-olds. It’s a field of quality despite lacking runners, with the market headed by odds-on favourite Silver Knott.
Charlie Appleby’s colt was impressive at Sandown when last seen winning the Group Three Solario Stakes. The yard is in excellent form as is jockey William Buick who is currently recording a 53% win rate. By Lope De Vega out of Group One-winning mare God Given (Nathaniel), the future looks bright for this juvenile, and he has plenty of potential. He is bidding for a hat-trick of wins, as is Chaldean.
Andrew Balding’s Frankel colt has Frankie Dettori onboard, and is another who is showing plenty of ability as two-year-old. He recently won the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York, beating Indestructible by half-a-length.
Michael O’Callaghan’s outsider will need to show improvement to compete with his rivals here. He has to reverse form with Chaldean which will be tough as, although the distance wasn’t much between them at York, the winner was stronger in the finish and rallied well to gain the victory.
1:35pm – Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2)
Eight juveniles are set to go to post for the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes run over 5f, with the market headed by Richard Fahey’s The Platinum Queen. The filly recorded back-to-back wins in July before bravely attempting the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, finishing a two-and-a-half-length second to Highfield Princess. She received plenty of weight from her older rivals on that occasion, and raced quite freely, but still put in an excellent performance to place in the high-class contest. These are calmer waters but there are a number of contenders in the race capable of posing a threat.
Trillium recorded a Group Three success when last seen, beating Listed-winner Rocket Rodney, as well as the promising Walbank, at Goodwood. She was beaten on debut, but has barely seen a rival since and is bidding for a hat-trick of wins here. By a sire who has produced an exceptional crop of two-year-olds this year, No Nay Never, she is certainly one to consider against the favourite.
Ardad colt Crispy Cat will be suited by a drop back in trip, with his stamina having been tested over 6f in his last two runs. He caught the eye in his earlier performances, winning on debut before being narrowly beaten in two Listed contests, including when defeated by Group One-winner Blackbeard. In the Norfolk Stakes he was badly hampered when attempting to mount a challenge in the closing stages and eventually finished third. Although his recent form may be discouraging, a shorter trip appears his optimum, and could allow him to rediscover form. Ridden by Ryan Moore, he’ll be attempting to emulate his sire who won this contest in 2016, when he beat Prince Of Pillo’s sire Prince Of Lir.
Unbeaten Prince Of Pillo is unexposed at this level, and must be respected stepping up in class. His form doesn’t read as well as some of his rivals but his pedigree is full of speed and he is yet to taste defeat. Malrescia was only beaten by Dramatised and Lezoo, respectively, in her first four starts. She was far from disgraced and was a close third in a Listed race at Deauville in July and sports a first-time tongue strap here.
1:35pm Doncaster – Crispy Cat 1pt E/W @ 8/1
2:10pm – Portland Handicap (Class 2)
The 2:10pm handicap is tough to predict, with a number of familiar names lining up. There doesn’t appear to be a significant draw bias over the trip at the track. In the past few years more mid to high drawn runners have been winning, yet low drawn horses have been running well and going close, winning on occasions. There are a number to consider in the twenty-two runner field, including market leaders Whenthedealindsone and Makanah.
Count D’Orsay is running off a more workable mark of 88, but is difficult to catch on a good day. Eight-year-old Dakota Gold has won here previously on soft ground but faces a tough task carrying a hefty weight off a mark of 102.
Recent York-winner Bergerac is a serious contender for a yard that has been in good form of late. Kevin Ryan hasn’t been finding a high number of winners, but his horses have been running well in defeat, often outrunning their odds and almost always looking excellent in the paddock. The four-year-old gelding is only 4lbs higher for his win on the Knavesmire, where he beat a number of rivals who line up against him once again.
The experienced Call Me Ginger was the pick of the paddock at Haydock last week, immaculately turned out by his groom, but failed to feature on the track, weakening late on. Nomadic Empire ran well in defeat in the aforementioned York handicap, staying on to finish fourth, but he may enjoy a sounder surface. A horse who may enjoy the ease in the ground is four-year-old gelding Significantly, for Karl Burke. He has previously won on heavy ground and has performed well on soft. When last seen, in the race won by Bergerac at York, he finished down the field but was badly hampered and stopped in his tracks when beginning his run for home. He has been generously dropped 4lbs by the handicapper, running off a mark of 96, and is one to consider.
Three-year-old Project Dante showed plenty of promise as a juvenile, winning on debut before finishing third in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, a-quarter-of-a-length behind winner Perfect Power. He is yet to build on that run and was gelded earlier this year but is still capable of showing progression and may find it easier off a lower mark of 96.
2:10pm Doncaster – Significantly 1pt E/W @ 33/1
2:45pm – Doncaster Cup Stakes (Group 2)
Two-time winner Stradivarius is absent from the field this year as he suffered a bruised foot injury that also kept him out of the Lonsdale Cup at York last month. In last year’s renewal John & Thady Gosden’s eight-year-old put in an excellent performance to win the Group Two contest comfortably, but this year it will be another horse’s turn to enjoy success in the race.
Trueshan heads the market for Alan King but connections will be hoping the forecast rain arrives in time and has the desired effect on the ground. The gelding was declared a late non-runner on the Knavesmire as the ground was deemed slightly too quick following the opening race on the card. Soft ground is his ideal but when last seen he did line-up in the Goodwood Cup, attempting to retain his crown against tough rivals Kyprios and Stradivarius. He failed on ground described as good on that day, despite putting in a gallant effort to finish third, but the track had been watered prior to the race and perhaps wasn’t as quick as expected. If Trueshan does line up in the Doncaster Cup he will be extremely tough to beat, as on many occasions he has proven himself in similar contests. He had enjoyed five successive wins before running at Goodwood and will be a short-priced favourite here, but it will be a waiting game to see whether or not he features.
Andrew Balding’s Coltrane was impressive in winning the Ascot Stakes at the Royal Meeting in June and continued his rich vein of form with a Listed success at Sandown. He couldn’t compete with the runaway winner Quickthorn at York but it was an interestingly run race, with Tom Marquand giving the victor an excellent tactical ride. On previous form he is worthy of being in contention and is a reliable alternative to the favourite.
Irish-raider Stratum also enjoyed victory at Royal Ascot, winning the Queen Alexandra Stakes when last seen. That was over an extended 2m5f and he drops back in trip here, but is clearly a strong stayer for top trainer Willie Mullins. Reshoun was a length behind Stratum at Ascot, and finished third in the aforementioned Lonsdale Cup. He is an interesting contender from an each-way perspective and could well outrun his huge odds.
Get Shirty recorded a hat-trick of wins earlier this season, with his winning streak coming to an end in the Ebor at York. He finished a respectable fifth there indicating he is still in good form. There are slight doubts regarding his effectiveness over this marathon trip however, as his two attempts at further than two-miles have both resulted in him being well-beaten. It may be worth giving him another chance at a longer distance, but he does have stamina to prove over 2m2f.
Five-year-old mare Lismore recently made the switch from England to Ireland, leaving Sir Mark Prescott’s yard to join Henry de Bromhead. She stays the trip, as does outsider Haizoom, but both may lack the class to be competitive in this field.
Island Brave recorded back-to-back wins in the Old Borough Cup at Haydock with success there on Saturday. He looked excellent in the paddock and showed plenty of heart in the hands of 5lbs claimer Gina Mangan. However, that was a handicap and stepping up in class will make this a tough assignment off a mark of 98 as he has plenty to find with a number of his rivals who are more prominent in the market, running off level weights.
3:20pm – Park Stakes (Group 2)
Kinross has an excellent chance of recording back-to-back Group Two wins in the 3:20pm Park Stakes, run over 7f. He has to give weight away to his rivals but appears the class of the field and capable of handling softer conditions. Frankie Dettori is onboard Ralph Beckett’s five-year-old gelding.
Taking the City Of York Stakes into account, Al Suhail has plenty to find with Kinross following a six-lengths defeat to his rival on the Knavesmire. There is only 2lbs between them on ratings, however, and Charlie Appleby’s gelding may put in a better showing with give in the ground, sporting a hood.
Garrus is worthy of being in consideration based on his Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest form at Deauville over six-and-a-half-furlongs, where he finished a close third to winner Highfield Princess and runner-up Minzaal. New Energy finished second in the Irish 2000 Guineas in May, before failing to feature in two Group One appearances. He won his maiden over 7f and placed in a Listed contest over the trip, but will need to show improvement to beat the field.
3:20pm Doncaster – Kinross 2pt win @ 5/4
3:55pm – St Leger Stakes (Group 1)
Market leader New London has only suffered one defeat in his career to date. That loss came on the Roodee, where he struggled to land a blow in a tactical affair run to suit the leader, and eventual winner, Changingoftheguard. Once prominent in the Derby antepost market, the Godolphin representative skipped the Classic with connections perhaps concerned about his ability to deal with the undulating nature of the Epsom track. He may have fared well in the historic race, as he has shown professionalism and maturity in many of his racecourse appearances and clearly has plenty of ability. His first black-type win came at Goodwood when last seen over 1m4f, landing the Group Three Gordon Stakes comfortably. He steps up in trip but has seen out his races strongly over the shorter distances and settles well, indicating he should be able to preserve energy in the early stages of the race, allowing him to stay the extra furlongs well enough to reign victorious.
Daughter of Golden Horn Haskoy has been supplemented for the race, with trainer Ralph Beckett appearing to be quite fond of his unbeaten filly. She is two from two so far and is out of a Nathaniel mare. With plenty of stamina in her pedigree, she is an interesting unexposed contender, up in trip.
Eldar Eldarov won the Group Two Queen’s Vase over 1m6f in June, but was well held over 1m4f at Longchamp when last seen. He has proven he stays well but will need to show improvement if he is to overcome the favourite, given that New London is on song.
Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal switched yards from Andrew Balding to George Boughey following his Epsom exploits. He is set for a career down under, but attempts another Classic before moving continents. He landed a Group Three at Goodwood over 1m6f when last seen, which should hold him in good stead, but he faces much stiffer opposition here and needs to reverse form with New London.
Irish-raider French Claim finished third in the Irish Derby when last seen but has stamina to prove, whilst Giovalletto has decent form on soft and is a proven stayer, but makes a big step up in class, wearing a hood.
Aidan O’Brien enjoyed success at Leopardstown on the first day of the Irish Champions Weekend and saddles well-bred filly Emily Dickinson in this Classic contest. Sean Levey takes the ride onboard the Dubawi filly out of Group One winning mare Chicquita (Montjeu). There is plenty of class in her pedigree and she has appeared an excellent staying prospect, suited to 1m6f and further. She has been unlucky on a number of occasions this season, narrowly missing out on a Group Three in July before being ridden too far back in an unusually run Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood. She stays on well, has a wonderful demeanor and is capable of landing a high-class race.
3:55pm Doncaster – New London 2pt win @ 11/10
5:05pm – Mallard Handicap (Class 2)
Jockey Ryan Moore partners Inchiore, a mare who enjoyed success over a similar trip at Goodwood in May. She was subsequently given a rise of 4lbs in ratings and finished fourth off a mark of 96 in her following run at Haydock. The five-year-old has proven herself as a strong stayer and is a versatile performer who will be able to cope with softer conditions if the forecast rain arrives.
HMS President was second in last year’s renewal and performed well when last seen finishing a neck behind Sam Cooke at Newmarket. Eve Johnson Houghton’s gelding is 1lbs higher for that performance, sporting blinkers in the hands of William Buick.
Trainer Adam Nicol is recording a 100% strike rate in the recent weeks, thanks to hat-trick seeking Wise Eagle. The five-year-old gelding has earned himself a career-high rating of 94 for his impressive performances and will have to deal with a 6lbs rise in the weights as he steps back up in class.
The experienced Sir Chauvelin beat rival Dark Jedi by a short head when the pair last met, with the latter carrying an extra 9lbs. They meet on closer terms this time out, with 5lbs separating them, as Dark Jedi attempts to reverse form.
5:05pm Doncaster – HMS President 1pt win @ 11/2
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Doncaster Top Trainers (2021)
1. John and Thady Gosden 12 winners (28%)
2. Richard Hannon 9 winners (15%)
3. William Haggas 8 winners (32%)
4. Roger Varian 8 winners (22%)
5. Charlie Appleby 7 winners (32%)
1. Paul Nicholls 6 winners (32%)
2. Ian Williams 6 winners (22%)
3. Fergal O’Brien 5 winners (36%)
4. Nicky Henderson 5 winners (19%)
5. Alan King 5 winners (18%)
Doncaster Top Jockeys (2021)
1. William Buick 11 winners (32%)
2. Dane O’Neill 6 winners (25%)
3. Ryan Moore 6 winners (23%)
4. Hollie Doyle 6 winners (20%)
5. Jack Mitchell 6 winners (19%)
1. Charlie Todd 7 winners (44%)
2. Paddy Brennan 6 winners (43%)
3. Nico de Boinville 4 winners (21%)
4. Tom Bellamy 4 winners (14%)
5. Lorcan Williams 3 winners (27%)
How to get there
A taxi from Doncaster Station takes under 10 minutes and costs around £6. There is also a courtesy bus from Doncaster station on racedays.
Doncaster is well served by rail, with regular services from London in around 1.5 hours.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport is 20 minutes away (8 miles). A taxi costs around £15-17.
Doncaster Top Races
G1 St Leger
G1 Vertem Futurity Trophy
G2 Park Hill Stakes
G2 May Hill Stakes
G2 Flying Childers Stakes
G2 Doncaster Cup
G2 Champagne Stakes
G2 Park Stakes
G3 Sceptre Stakes
G2 December Novices’ Chase
G2 Summit Juvenile Hurdle
G2 River Don Novices’ Hurdle
G2 Lightning Novices’ Chase
G2 Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle
Listed Skybet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle
Listed Sky Bet Handicap Chase
Grimthorpe Handicap Chase
Doncaster Tips Archives
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