IT has been a brilliant season for racing with personal highlights being there at York to watch Frankel hose up in the International Stakes and then last month seeing Sir Henry Cecil’s superstar bow out of the game unbeaten with victory in the QIPCO British Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Doncaster tomorrow afternoon hosts the final flat meeting of the year and the big betting race is the November Handicap at 2.35pm. First Mohican heads the market and it’s not hard to see why. Another from the Cecil yard, he was once spoken of as their potential Derby horse before a series of setbacks kept him off the track for two years.
However, the son of Tobougg has returned to the turf in impressive fashion, making it three wins from three starts when readily justifying favouritism at Redcar and Nottingham last month. He is the only unbeaten horse in the line-up and is still unexposed.
Yet, at just 7/2 with Coral, First Mohican is short for a typically competitive affair. A 12lb hike in the weights means the gelding has to find further improvement at a trip longer than he has tried before. This is also the quickest ground he has encountered and with the last favourite to win back in 1995, I’m happy to swerve him.
Nicholascopernicus is a progressive course and distance winner but has done all his winning on softer ground so I’m going to chance RETRIEVE. He may be top weight but the ex-Australian Godolphin inmate deserves his lofty rating of 110, having performed credibly in Group One company throughout his career.
He won a useful Listed event two starts back and was a good second in an Italian Group One a few weeks ago. The ground should suit and he rates a solid each-way proposition at 18/1 with Coral.
Another to consider is SIRVINO at 25/1 with Coral. This fellow doesn’t win often but is a real tryer and, now 10lb lower than when he ran the smart Gatewood to two and a quarter lengths in May, he is well-handicapped to be in the mix.
In the nursery at 1.25pm PIVOTAL MOVEMENT looks the call now Inka Surprise, whose form was franked when Invincible Warrior landed a Listed race here last month, has been taken out. The Richard Hannon-trained juvenile broke his maiden in good style last time out and has reportedly been working really well at home to suggest he can prove much better than an opening handicap mark of 78.
SAJJHAA is a cut above the rest of the fillies in the 2pm and she could be the first leg of a double for Godolphin and jockey Mickael Barzalona in the 10-furlong Listed race.
Excluding the disappointing Emirate’s Queen, Sajhaa is rated at least 12lb higher than the rest of the field and her close-up second to John Gosden’s high-class Izzi Top earlier in the season is the best form on offer.
Finally, Jack Dexter is likely to be very popular in the Wentworth Stakes at 3.10pm, as he chases Listed glory and a memorable four-timer, but this is a strong race and Jim Goldie’s charge has been on the go for a long time now. He has also given the impression he is a real soft ground lover so tomorrow’s surface raises new questions.
Instead, SIRIUS PROSPECT looks good value to repeat his impressive win in this contest last year. This is his time of the year and he confirmed himself in good shape when he got the each-way cash for us on Champions Day. He loves a fast pace to aim at, which he will certainly get, and his trainer Dean Ivory has had a few winners recently.
As ever, you can follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile for all my latest views.
PIVOTAL MOMENT 1.25pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
SAJJHAA 2pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
RETRIEVE e/w 2.35pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
SIRVINO e/w 2.35pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
SIRIUS PROSPECT e/w 3.10pm Doncaster (tomorrow)