The only factor that would make me fancy MARK’S CHOICE even more in the opener at Doncaster today would be if the race was to be run at his beloved Ripon. It’s not but I I think he has an outstanding chance of gaining victory. Ruth Carr has delivered success for these owners on more than one occasion before and I think this progressive sprinter could have a good season. He showed plenty of ability last year, although his form did tail off later in the year, and returned at Wolverhampton after a bout of wind surgery. He was very well supported that day and has been again today which suggests someone fancies him somewhere. He is on a dangerously low mark and I will be disappointed if he can’t get himself involved in the finish here.
I love a speculative punt and I’m having another today. WHERE’S JEFF is more than capable on his day and proved quite progressive last season although like Mark’s Choice, his form did tail off later in the season. You could put those poor runs down to ground though and that would suggest he would be much happier on this rattling quick surface. His shrewd trainer has spoken highly of him in the past and it would come as no surprise to me if he were to ruffle a few expensive feathers today.
Doncaster 12.15 – Mark’s Choice – 2pt win
Doncaster 3.55 – Where’s Jeff – 0.5pts e/w
A good day of racing at Newcastle today and my interest kicks off with STAXTON in the 1.15. A horse who loves soft ground should appreciate this softer surface at Newcastle and looks primed to go close. A recent pipe opener would have blown away any cobwebs and he is lurking on a low enough mark to do some damage here I think. He has vital course and distance form to his name and with so much in his favour, he rates a strong each way bet.
The Chipchase Stakes at 1.50 wouldn’t be the strongest Group 3 contest ever run and I’d hope MAJOR JUMBO could go close here after a fine effort in the Palace House Stakes. He has form on slow ground over 6f which is a big plus and with this being a wide open race, I’d say he has as good a chance as any in here. His stablemate Brando is clear on ratings but he is an in and out performer who could be worth opposing.
The Northumberland Plate looks just as competitive as previous years and I could make a strong case for 4 or 5 in all honesty. To be fair though, my safest bet is the biggest price and that’s my old friend COSMELLI. I have tipped him two times already this season and he has yet to let me down, returning each way money both times. Returning to the scene of one of his greatest days I do fancy him to outrun his big odds. You often find the sexy horses in this race either fail to stay or get found out as the 2 miles around here is taxing. The selection however, absolutely loves the test this course provides and finished an admirable 5th in last year’s renewal off 96. Today he lines up off 88 and George Rooke takes off another 5lbs for good measure so if he is in the same form as last year, he has to run a mighty race.
All eyes will be on the Curragh this evening for the Irish Derby and I will be watching with a vested interest as SANTIAGO bids to double Royal Ascot glory with Classic success. I think it’s very interesting that Aidan O’Brien sends him here so soon after Ascot as you would have said he looks the ideal type for the St Leger. He may well still end up there but I think he’s chucked him in here because he thinks he could/should win it. He travelled so well at Ascot you wouldn’t worry about him stepping down to this sort of trip and although I’m slightly worried about his stablemate Arthur’s Kingdom, I do have plenty of confidence in this lad.
Newcastle 1.15 – Staxton – 1pt e/w
Newcastle 1.50 – Major Jumbo – 1pt e/w
Newcastle 3.35 – Cosmelli – 1pt e/w
Curragh 7.15 – Santiago – 2pt win