No Need to Call the Fire Brigade as Flat Season gets Underway at Doncaster8 min read
Saturday – Doncaster
The flat turf season begins at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon with the first leg of the spring double the Lincoln Handicap the feature. We are betting five places on the straight mile handicap and the former CEO and founder of 32Red Ed Ware is one of the owners of Fire Brigade who is the market leader for the contest.
This race has long been the target for Fire Brigade and the gelding has the assistance of Ryan Moore for the first time – note Moore has never ridden the winner of this prestigious event. That said 4/1 is too short in such a competitive 22-runner event and he is reluctantly overlooked in favour of old adversary Addeybb (3.35) who is and is the each way recommendation.
Addeybb – ridden by Ryan Moore – beat Fire Brigade – ridden by James Doyle – by half a length in the Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket over an additional furlong back in September. Addeybb – who will be ridden by James Doyle this afternoon – is 1lb better off with Moore’s mount today and there seems no reason why the William Haggas-trained 4-year-old should not confirm the form despite Moore, seemingly, jumping ship.
I expect to see the selection race prominently from stall ten, and will be disappointed if he did not make a bold show for a yard who certainly know what it takes to win the race, with proud Yorkshireman Haggas’ having saddled the winner of the race three times previously.
Taqdeer (2.25) is unproven on soft ground and returns to the track following a 692-day absence but it is interesting that John Gosden perseveres with his five-year-old who looked so good in winning both starts as a three-year-old. He is 8lbs higher than when scoring over 10f on good ground at Newmarket when last seen back in May 2016 when he struck me as being a Group horse. The selection is and is one to keep a close eye on this season.
The extended 10f apprentice handicap, which closes the card, is another competitive contest but Abel Tasman (5.50) can transfer his improved all-weather form back on turf for Ed Walker and William Cox who is a very talented young jockey.
There is significant rain now forecast for Newbury on Friday night and Saturday morning and I just favour Thomas Patrick (2.05) in the opening staying handicap chase for Tom Lacey and Richard Johnson. The selection may not have got home over a marathon trip at Exeter last time but he travelled up very well and this drop back in trip will suit.
I am writing this before Friday’s racing at Newbury, but it was interesting to see that two Rebecca Curtis-trained horses on the card had been well supported on Friday morning for their respective races at the Berkshire track. This would suggest that the yard believe they might be on the verge of hitting form and, with that in mind, I hope to see Just A Thought (3.15) reward each way support at in the Mares’ Handicap final.
The selection has had her jumping issues in the past and will need an end-to-end gallop at this trip given she stays further. The mare is 13lbs better off with Midnight Tune for the ten lengths she was beaten by that rival at Wincanton and she can reverse the form on today’s revised terms – although I would wish to see evidence on Friday that the yard are in better form.
I was looking forward to seeing Sametegal (3.50) on better ground this afternoon for Paul Nicholls and the forecast is a slight concern, but the selection is effective on soft ground and can take this for a yard who have saddled the winner of this corresponding race twice in the last three years.
Seeyouatmidnight is the most interesting horse on the card given he has to run in a chase to be eligible to run in the Grand National in three weeks’ time. The 10-year-old has not run for 12 months, but finished third in the 2016 Scottish National and is to give the Scots back-to-back wins at Aintree.
Just A Thought
Sunday – Doncaster
On Sunday, Royal Line (4.10) can get back to winning ways in the 12f Conditions event at Doncaster for John Gosden. The selection may have fallen a bit short in the November Handicap when last seen back in the autumn but after only four career starts, he is open to considerable improvement.
At Ascot, Happy Diva (3.10) can end what has been a disappointing week for Kerry Lee on a high in the three-runner Novices’ Chase. The selection would be receiving more weight from Adrien Du Pont if this were a handicap but the mare is a terrific jumper of a fence and she is taken to return to winning ways.
Allmyown (5.10) was a most impressive winner at Wetherby earlier in the week when he jumped well and could be called the winner from some way out. He steps up in trip under a 7lbs penalty at Carlisle for inform Phil Kirby this afternoon but will be hard to beat if in the same mood. The unexposed Blakerigg looks the danger with the step up to three miles a positive.