Ihtimal looks above average
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt previews the feature action from the third day of Doncaster's St Leger meeting.
- Related Content
Times Up, winner of last year's Speedy Services Doncaster Cup, appears to be running into form at just the right time as he bids for a repeat in Friday's big race on Town Moor.
The seven-year-old could not have been a more appropriately named hero last September when providing his veteran trainer John Dunlop with a final Group race success, and a recent third behind Ahzeemah (Colour Vision seventh) in the Lonsdale Cup at York suggested he is coming to hand after a couple of below-par efforts earlier in the season.
Now with Ed Dunlop, Times Up is a past winner of the November Handicap so goes particularly well at Doncaster and may also be best during the autumn.
The main danger has to be last year's narrowly-beaten runner-up High Jinx (Repeater fourth, Colour Vision seventh) but James Fanshawe's giant son of High Chapparal hasn't raced since disappointing at Sandown back in May.
Something may have been amiss that day as he was hanging under pressure but it boded well to read the Racing Post's Newmarket correspondent, David Milnes, report that High Jinx "excelled" in some work on the gallops last Saturday morning.
However, the lack of a recent outing is off-putting and Times Up is taken to confirm the form.
Biographer, who bypassed an alternative opportunity in the Mallard Handicap for this Group test, has a bit to prove in terms of form and stamina but finished eight lengths ahead of the reopposing Chiberta King when beaten by the Lonsdale fourth Caucus at Sandown in July and remains a likeable horse with the potential to improve further.
Later on, Ihtimal should take plenty of beating in what looks an average renewal of the Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes.
The Godolphin filly was a most convincing winner of a Group Three at Newmarket last time and the way she powered clear over that seven furlongs suggests she will have no problem with the mile here.
Ihtimal had previously finished third behind Berkshire in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot - form that is working out well - and is preferred to the other Godolphin runner Majeyda who is very closely matched with Qawaasem on their battle at Sandown in July.
An interesting runner is the Richard Hannon-trained Lustrous who takes a leap up in class after winning a maiden race at Salisbury on her debut. She must be highly regarded.