THE WEATHER up at Doncaster has completely changed the complexion of the Ladbrokes St Leger meeting and, as we’ve seen over the last couple of days, it generally pays to stick with horses proven on a slower surface.
We were hit with a raft of non-runners yesterday but today’s feature, the Group Two Doncaster Cup (2.40pm), part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, has held up well and a field of eight will go to post for the £100,000 contest.
It’s a tricky one to call because the first three in the market are all closely matched, but I prefer the chances of HIGH JINX over Times Up and Biographer.
I mentioned the form of the James Fanshawe stable earlier this week and it’s one of the deeper shades of purple patches I’ve seen for a long time which bodes well for the selection.
Throw in the fact High Jinx is remarkably consistent, never finishing lower than fourth in his 11 races to date, and that he loves some cut in the ground, and he looks a great bet at 9/4 with Ladbrokes. Even more so considering the firm are refunding bets at Doncaster up to £25 if your horse is second.
Times Up did beat High Jinx in this race last term but the latter went down only by a neck on ground faster than ideal and that was after he’d been hampered as he went for home.
Biographer is talented, if a little frustrating, and he’ll have to step up. Colour Vision is a former Ascot Gold Cup winner but hasn’t tasted victory in eight runs since and looks a shadow of his former self, while the others are up against it on all known form or ratings.
The Ladbrokes Mallard Stakes (2.10pm) is very competitive with all seven entries holding a realistic chance. The well-regarded Semeen is current favourite but he was pulled out of a similar engagement on the weekend because of the ground so there must be doubts he can produce his best if he does start.
Shwaiman bolted up over course and distance last time, in the process breaking his maiden, but that was on fast ground and he’s picked up a 12lb rise from the handicapper. That might not be enough to stop the colt but the ground might be and I’d rather stick with one proven in the conditions.
TENENBAUM should relish the going having put up some really smart efforts in France last year. It’s easy to forgive his British debut at Chester last time in a hot race after a break and on a quick surface. He has to shoulder top weight with his stable-mate Songcraft but the son of Authorized looks a good each-way bet.
Finally, JOE PACKET looks worth supporting in a typically tight sprint handicap at 4.25pm. The tough gelding is back below his highest winning mark and gets in near the bottom of the weights. His recent form figures don’t tell the whole story as he’s been running really well in some very good races.
An extended six furlongs should suit well and he has a good chance.
TENENBAUM e/w 2.10pm Doncaster
HIGH JINX 2.40pm Doncaster
JOE PACKET e/w 4.25pm Doncaster