Racing tip of the day
On the hunt for value in Doncaster's Park Hill Stakes, Will Hayler wonders whether Alta Lilea might get things her own way.
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Tip of the Day: Alta Lilea - 3.15 Doncaster
Listening to the weather forecasts this morning, it appears as if we are in for a very wet and stormy spell starting early on Sunday, but that those going to the Leger on Saturday might just get away leaving the raincoats at home.
That's good news because the vast majority of those set to line up in the big race would be happy enough on good, or maybe even good to soft ground, but anything softer would turn the complexion of the race on its head.
It's been dry overnight at Doncaster and the going remains good to soft for today's second day of the meeting, which features a particularly tough-looking £300,000 Weatherbys Sales race and two Group races for fillies and mares.
Much as I have a soft spot for the The Lark, as I love nothing more than following the fortunes of a good racing family such as hers, her third in the Oaks has been steadily devalued from a formbook perspective ever since she passed the post, just in front of Moth who hasn't been seen since finishing eighth in a Listed race the following month.
The most obvious one to take The Lark on with is Seal Of Approval, a lightly-raced but fast-improving filly who showed plenty of guts to get on top late on in a strong Listed race at Newbury last month.
However, at 9/4, she offers precious little value to punters given that another jump in form will be required here and I wonder if this is a race that might reward a small bet on something at a bigger price.
Alta Lilea flopped after getting caught up a pace duel at Chester last time, but I'm always prepared to forgive a Mark Johnston horse one bad run (I am evidently a very forgiving person, as there seem be a few of them) and her previous third at Goodwood behind Wild Coco (holds Jathabah and Jehannedarc on that run) would give her a decent chance here.
With Bite Of The Cherry a non-runner, I could see her getting an uncontested early advantage in this line-up (Jathabah the biggest worry on that front) and proving quite hard to catch on a surface she has shown she handles.
At 9/1, I think she's worth a small bet.