Tuesday 16 January 2018

Time to cheer on Doncaster Rover

There are a number of higher-profile contenders in the Group Three Supreme Stakes at Goodwood tomorrow, but it can pay to side with the in-form Doncaster Rover.

Among the selection's nine rivals are Hooray, a Group One winner as a juvenile in 2010, and Jacqueline Quest, famously demoted to second after passing the post in front in last year's 1,000 Guineas.

Many of the remainder have also competed in the upper echelons but, for one reason or another, inspire little confidence at this point.

Doncaster Rover, on the other hand, is a steady if less spectacular sort that gained due reward for a string of admirable efforts when he edged home in a Listed race at York's Ebor festival meeting.

On it's own, that might not represent anything to get too excited about, but David Brown's five-year-old had earlier shown an improved standard of performance.

He was placed twice in Group company in May and June, including when a length and a quarter third to The Cheka at Haydock.

That one reopposes again here, but a 4lb swing in Doncaster Rover's favour is significant now.

The mount of a red-hot Kieren Fallon, Doncaster Rover's more recent defeats were also encouraging. In two outings preceding his York success, he wasn't disgraced when twice taking fifth behind the classy operators Strong Suit and Excelebration, respectively.

If he turns out in the same sort of shape tomorrow, then he could take a few notable scalps on the way to a debut success at Group level.

Fallon (right) should also be kept on side in the 11-furlong seller. Seven moderate horses line out here, with the former champion booked for William Haggas' Lady Elsie.

•Richard Forristal pointed readers in the right direction at Down Royal last night, with Blue Vic and Pond Cottage both returning at odds of 6/1 for a 48/1 double for his selections.

Other returns over the past week included three daily naps scoring at odds of 10/3, 5/4 and 9/4, while his Outsider to Note, Stewarts House, also obliged at 8/1 last Sunday.

Outsider to note

Princess Gail could defy double-figure odds to play a hand in the finish of the one-mile handicap at Yarmouth tomorrow.

A slow breaker from the stalls, Mark Brisbourne's three-year-old was unsuited by the sharp demands of Thirsk and Bath on her last two starts.

At the latter venue on her most recent outing earlier in the month, she also failed to see out the 10-furlong trip.

With that in mind, Princess Gail holds some appeal now that she reverts to a mile at a less trappy venue.

When you factor in that this is the first time that she has been ridden by the 7lb-claiming Racheal Knellar since the pair teamed up to win at Ffos Las in July, she certainly appeals as an each-way option.

Sunday Yankee

Galway 2.25 -- Worldly Wise

Yarmouth 2.35 -- Princess Gail

Goodwood 3.20 -- Doncaster Rover

Goodwood 4.30 -- Lady Elsie

Numbers game

1.7m What a Galileo yearling filly made in euro at Deauville Sales on Tuesday.

4 Recognisable names, apart from Barry Geraghty, that rode in Dirar's Saratoga race on Thursday. Geraghty's brother Ross, Brian Crowley, Xavier Aizpuru and Willie Dowling all relocated from Ireland or England.

2 The number of rides that 16-year-old Willie Twiston-Davies had before breaking his ankle on Wednesday, having only returned from a broken leg on Saturday.

Quote of the week

"If I came across a horse with Classic ability there's no reason why I shouldn't win one. The big thing is getting on the horse. Hopefully I'll find a horse and win one, but they don't just pop up." -- Hayley Turner on the task of becoming the first female jockey to ever win a Classic.

Three things we

learned this week

1It's a funny old game. Having endured a desperate season numerically last term while also enjoying Cheltenham Festival and Irish Grand National glory, Arthur Moore is well versed on racing's vagaries. However, even he must have been amused by results on Sunday.

Having gone nearly three years without a win, his new arrival, the ex-Paul Nicholls-trained Free World, hosed up under Davy Russell at Ballinrobe.

Ninety minutes later, the frustrating Stewarts House, which had won just once for Moore over the past 18 months, did likewise on its debut for Tim Vaughan at Newton Abbott.

A change of scenery really must count for a lot.

2 Paul Hanagan will soon be hearing whistling noises in his sleep.

The reigning British champion jockey might have been pushed to the wire by Richard Hughes last year, but having Kieren Fallon breathing down your neck is another thing altogether.

Renowned for his trademark whistle as he challenges in a race, Fallon moved on to 100 for the year on Thursday, just 11 shy of Hanagan, whose lead he has steadily been eating into.

The six-time holder has over two months to finish the job.

3 Gordon Elliott is spreading his wings again, following his first Grade One success and a Cheltenham Festival double last season.

The champion trainer-in-waiting has now embarked on an ambitious American campaign with Dirar, which finished an admirable second on its first outing at Saratoga on Thursday.

Racing Diary

Monday: Downpatrick, Galway*, Bangor, Cartmel, Chepstow, Epsom, Huntingdon, Newcastle, Ripon, Warwick

Tuesday: Epsom, Goodwood, Ripon, Southwell* (AW), Wolverhampton* (AW)

Wednesday: Bath, Carlisle*, Folkestone, Hereford, Kempton* (AW)

Thursday: Clonmel*, Kempton* (AW), Newton Abbot, Redcar, Salisbury

Friday: Kilbeggan*, Brighton, Chepstow, Haydock, Kempton* (AW)

Saturday: Leopardstown*, Ascot, Haydock, Kempton (AW), Musselburgh, Stratford, Thirsk, Wolverhampton* (AW) Sunday: Dundalk (AW), Fontwell, York.

Irish Independent

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