Rumble Inthejungle is hard to oppose in the Flying Childers at Doncaster on Friday, according to Mike Cattermole.
I have gone on record before about ruing the Doncaster Cup’s absence from any staying race bonus series. After all, it’s still the oldest staying race of its kind in the Racing Calendar and Thomas Hobson, second last year, is taken to go one better for Ryan Moore and Willie Mullins.
In last year’s race, Moore produced Thomas Hobson with what looked a winning run as he took it up from the previous year’s winner, Sheikhzayedroad, but both were swamped by Desert Skyline (who has ducked the rematch) close home.
Thomas Hobson shaped well enough over an inadequate 1m6f in the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh last time and prior to that, suffered a terrible run when a beaten favourite in the Queen Alexandra at Ascot.
Expect Moore to bide his time until very late as they attempt to confirm last year’s form with the admirable, but enigmatic, Sheikhzayedroad.
David Simcock’s veteran, a notoriously tricky ride, got the better of Quest For More in a terrific battle in this two years ago and his third 12 months ago shows that he is comfortable on the track.
His form has been a little patchy since but Sheikhzayedroad did show what he is capable of on his day when beating all bar the top-class Vazirabad in the competitive Dubai Gold Cup back in March.
Mullins and Simcock are responsible for five of the eight runners. Of Mullins’ other two, Renneti’s form has been patchy and Max Dynamite seems to have lost his spark but the Simcock-trained Algometer is an intriguing contender.
The grey has always had a touch of class about him over middle distances and even beat Dartmouth at Newbury last autumn.
This represents a huge step up in trip but his owner-breeder Kirsten Rausing has made a speciality of staying types and he may be the joker in the pack under Oisin Murphy.
The card opens with the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes and a chance to make up for lost time for Laugh Aloud.
John Gosden’s filly looked to be heading to the top when romping home by five lengths in the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom last June. But she had a setback afterwards and only reappeared at Sandown earlier this month, after a 15-month absence, and shaped as if the race would do her good.
This is no cakewalk, though, as Anna Nerium is smart at this trip (three wins from four starts) and is much respected. And if the ground retains its moisture, that will suit Dan’s Dream, who is best on an easy surface and came back to form at Tipperary last time.
Tom Queally has gone on record as saying that Rumble Inthejungle is the fastest juvenile he has sat on and you could understand what he meant after the way the Richard Spencer-trained colt won the Molecomb at Goodwood.
Soldier’s Call, Vintage Brut and Well Done Fox were all well held in third, fourth and seventh and the first and last-named have won since to add weight to Rumble Inthejungle’s chances in the Wainwrights Flying Childers Stakes.
Legends Of War is actually rated 1lb his superior after an excellent second in the Gimcrack Stakes and this drop back to the minimum trip for the first time is interesting. But Queally, jocked off The Tin Man last week, can take this Group Two.
The William Hill Mallard Handicap is a cracker and many are in with a chance. Walton Street has been in great form and his third in the Group Three Geoffrey Freer confirms he may be still on the upgrade.
Both Titus, at York, and Just In Time at Goodwood, won very impressively but both have to cope with a rise of 11lb and 10lb respectively.
The one that appeals most at the prices is Island Brave who won a Class 3 over this trip at Nottingham last month and is not overburdened with a 4lb rise. He is still unexposed on the turf (just five starts) and remains 4lb lower than he is rated on the AW.
He is 14/1 with Sky Bet and looks a sporting each-way shot.
1.50 LAUGH ALOUD, 2.25 RUMBLE INTHEJUNGLE, 3.00 ISLAND BRAVE (EW), 3.35 THOMAS HOBSON