Are You Doubting Thomas?
Man On The Spot previews Saturday's terrestrial television action from Chester and Doncaster.
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14.10 Chester Free Bet At corbettsports.com Handicap
Verse Of Love and Fathsta were engaged in the 3.55 here yesterday but a victory would take either on to a very high mark if turning out again. Roninski has the fine strike-rate of 5-14 including a victory here so he's on the short-list as is Kingscroft, whose victory here last summer was gained from a 4lb higher mark.
Bravo Echo has the inside berth and providing he doesn't get cut off looks certain to go close as he's still well treated despite being on a hat-trick. Uppercut found 1m1f taxing his stamina at Goodwood but had beaten a huge field over a mile there earlier and is well drawn as is DREAM TUNE, who gets the nod. Clive Cox thinks a lot of this Salisbury maiden winner who hasn't been done many favours by the assessor on his handicap debut but there looks to be plenty more to come and he may turn out to be better than an 87-rated handicapper.
14.25 Doncaster One Call Insurance Champagne Stakes
Toronado followed a Newbury maiden win with victory in a Listed race at Ascot and has obvious scope for improvement. Unsinkable is also unbeaten after 6f wins at Newcastle and this track in July while Tha'Ir continues to run well. Successful in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, he was then a close-up fourth in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and just touched off in the Solario Stakes at Sandown last time - Birdman is safely held on the form book.
But the one to beat is probably DUNDONNELL, who won the Acomb Stakes at York a shade cosily in the end having briefly looked in trouble at halfway. He's a big-striding type so should take to this track and is entered in all the big two-year-old races between now and the end of the season. Maxentius looked useful when winning over 7f here in June but has finished behind Birdman in both subsequent starts and also has to reverse Goodwood running with Tha'Ir.
14.40 Chester Minstrell Recruitment Stand Cup
Godolphin won this last year and MODUN, who has raced in Group company on his last six starts without being disgraced, is taken to continue the sequence. Richard Fahey runs both Area Fifty One and Glen's Diamond and preference has to be for the latter who is rated 10lb higher.
He hasn't progressed as expected after landing the Dee Stakes here last year but has generally performed at a higher level and should go well. Goldoni won the Derby Trial at Epsom but hasn't been successful subsequently including twice at this level and though Naseem Alyasmeen won over the C&D in June that was a handicap from a lowly mark of 75 and this is very much tougher.
Good Morning Star was the shock winner of the Cheshire Oaks in May and though showing little since she obviously likes it around these tight turns.
15.00 Doncaster Ladbrokes Portland Handicap
The Great St Wilfrid at Ripon has proved a decent trial for this in the past and Tax Free, Singeur and Barnet Fair were second, sixth and seventh respectively in that contest this year. The former subsequently beat MASS RALLY at York with Fratellino fourth and Rex Imperator, Ancient Cross and Captain Dunne further behind but Michael Dods' sprinter looked an unlucky loser that day and is fractionally better off at the weights here. He needs to arrive late but Paul Mulrennan should find plenty of cover in this big field and he can finally get his head in front where it matters today.
Face The Problem will be popular again with Fallon on board as he beat last week's Ascot winner Kingsgate Choice here on his belated reappearance and had Doc Hay and Tax Free behind at Haydock last time. He's also entitled to reverse Sandown running with Edge Closer. Move In Time is interesting as he was winning in Listed company around this time last year but this could be too tough for the hat-trick-seeking Picabo and Prodigality also needs to step up on the form he's shown so far. Steps beat Secret Witness, Face The Problem and Singeur over 5f here in October last year and won at Newmarket in July but may find a few of these better handicapped now.
15.40 Doncaster Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes
Camelot won the Racing Post Trophy here as a two-year-old and has swept all before him this season, landing the Qipco 2000 Guineas on his reappearance and finding a brilliant turn of foot to go clear of Main Sequence in the Investec Derby when another of today's rivals, Thought Worthy, was a one-paced fourth.
He wasn't as impressive in the Irish Derby at the Curragh when only a couple of lengths ahead of the reluctant Born To Sea but the ground was very holding that day. One still wonders, however, why connections have side-stepped a clash with older horses in the Eclipse or King George and bucked the modern trend by coming to Doncaster instead of going to Longchamp for the Arc.
Considering there are real stamina doubts over this trip and his restrictive odds, it may be worth finding an each-way alternative. Frankie has a terrific record in the race and rides Michelangelo after William Buick opted to ride Thought Worthy, a full brother to Leger winner Lucarno. The latter reversed Epsom running with Main Sequence in the Great Voltigeur when Encke was third but was able to take advantage of a funereal pace when kicking off the final turn and the form may not be that reliable.
The lightly-raced THOMAS CHIPPENDALE was only fifth at York but was never striding out on the fast ground and had earlier beaten Thought Worthy in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He's out of All My Loving, who was second in the Park Hill Stakes, so should have no problems with track and trip and is well worth an interest at inflated odds. Guarantee, who won the Melrose at York, will also be staying on when others have cried enough and could run a big race while Johnny Murtagh's mount Ursa Major comes here in cracking form.
16.15 Doncaster OLBG Park Stakes
More than half this field contested the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last month when Lethal Force, in first-time blinkers, edged out Strong Suit with Majestic Myles and Pastoral Player further behind. Soul was a disappointing sixth and Libranno last on that occasion.
The headgear may not work a second time for Clive Cox's three-year-old, however, and the ground won't be as quick here either which suggests the form book should be taken with a pinch of salt. We'll take the runner-up to come out best of the quintet today as he makes a significantly swift reappearance after finding 6f too sharp in last week's Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock and Richard Hughes again prefers him to Libranno.
FOXTROT ROMEO is just as interesting, however, as he was second in the Irish 2000 Guineas before running well in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Not suited by the track when behind Libranno at Goodwood last time, Bryan Smart's colt could gain compensation here. Penitent's connections will welcome recent rain but the ground may still not be soft enough for David O'Meara's tough gelding.