Prodigality to sprint to success
On one of the weaker weekends in the British racing calendar, Doncaster's £50,000 bet365 Handicap is the most valuable race on offer and may provide another opportunity for Ron Harris's improving sprinter Prodigality to supplement a reappearance success at Warwick.
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The five-year-old, who will be ridden by Luke Morris, has gone up over 30lb in the official ratings since last June and that recent defeat of the useful 99-rated Justineo (fit from Dubai) and the in-form Aubretia suggests he may continue to defy the handicapper.
A strong traveller, Prodigality was an impressive winner of the Brighton Bullet last summer before looking unlucky in the Great St Wilfred at Ripon and then scoring again at Goodwood in the autumn.
He also ran well in the Portland Handicap on this course, leading home a small group on the far side and was probably over the top when unplaced behind Thunderball here on his final start.
I remember speaking to Harris - a dab hand with sprint handicappers - at Brighton and he felt sure that the horse could be even better this season and that Warwick victory suggests he may well be right.
However, this is a very competitive race and a key formline is the recent Cammidge Trophy over the course and distance two weeks ago in which Jack Dexter ran out a smooth winner from Captain Ramius with Our Jonathan (now 4lb better off for two-and-half lengths) and Hitchens (6lb better for nearly three lengths) finished third and fourth.
Given the way the winner travelled that day, I suspect he will confirm the placings but this could be tougher off top weight.
Like Jack Dexter, Thunderball appears to thrive on this straight course but two who look more dangerous are Duke Of Firenze (beautifully bred by Pivotal out of the high class Nannina), a useful prospect for Sir Michael Stoute in six-furlong handicaps this season, and the enthusiastic Yeeoow who has run two sound races on an all-weather surface so far this season but also finished a good second at Pontefract on grass last term.
Lightly raced, Yeeoow is probably open to further improvement and should be thereabouts.
The classiest race on the Town Moor card is the bet365 Doncaster Mile but it looks very difficult to split the likes of Gabrial, Highland Knight and Sovereign Debt who are all solid listed/Group Three class.
Chandlery is another interesting contender - a horse who missed his three-year-old campaign but who was a smart juvenile in 2011 when landing the Veuve Clicquot Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
It's a race that may prove best watched.