Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Doncaster, Wincanton, Sandown and Kelso. View selections below
The last day of a memorable flat season and Doncaster brings the curtain down with their November Handicap the big betting race of the day. Communicator has finished 2nd and 5th in this corresponding race for the last two years off similar marks and could be overpriced at 20/1, but the each way vote goes to Alan Swinbank’s Dark Ruler (3.35) who looked better than ever when scoring at Pontefract last time and the more rain the better for this 5-year-old. Joe Fanning takes the mount as regular pilot David Allan is claimed to ride Tim Easterby’s Ardlui and at 22/1 he, too, could be over-priced in a fiercely competitive renewal.
The listed Fillies event over 10f looks at the mercy of Princess Loulou for classic winning trainer Roger Varian but at 6/4 with BetVictor she might be worth taking on as I’m not convinced this extended 10f trip will suit a filly whose both wins have been over a mile.
Preference is for Melrose Abbey (3.00) who has won both her previous starts on soft ground and failed to get home over a mile-and-three-quarters last time in the Park Hill Stakes. This trip on soft ground should be ideal and at 10/1 she can reward each way support with Richard Hughes taking over in the saddle.
The Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton is a cracker and I like the booking of Sean Bowen taking 7lb off the back of Tagrita (2.05) for Paul Nicholls. Rain is forecast in Somerset and Tagrita progressed nicely on soft and heavy ground last winter before finding the step up in class to Grade 1 company too much at Aintree. The selection will make a chaser in time but is unbeaten in two starts at Wincanton and might just have too much for Blue Buttons representing the yard of Harry Fry who have made such an excellent start to the season.
The Badger Ales Trophy is one of my favourite races of the year and a very long short-list has been whittled down to Dare To Endeavour and Golden Chieftain (2.40) with the latter getting the each way vote at 16/1 with BetVictor. The selection travelled supremely well at Cheltenham on his reappearance before his run petered out and that was a time when the Colin Tizzard horses were in need of their reappearance. The stable have been back amongst the winners in recent weeks and that outing should have put him spot on for today.
If Irving (3.15) has any pretensions to being a Champion Hurdler then he must go very close in the Elite Hurdle and it is possible that he is at his best going right-handed given he won his first four starts, all at right-handed tracks, in his novice season for Paul Nicholls before disappointing at Cheltenham behind Vautour. Soft ground holds no terrors and at 11/8 he is hard to oppose although Bertimont and Fox Norton are progressive 4-y-olds in an excellent renewal.
At Sandown Toby Lerone looks sure to make a bold bid from the front at a track where he went close back in the spring off his current mark but Barrakilla (2.30) and Loose Chips are taken to fight out the finish with preference for the former who has always promised to make up into a decent chaser for the Evan Williams yard.
I thought Lookslikerainted (3.40) was open to further improvement after winning at Worcester on his chase/handicap debut and a 6lb rise looks fair for Rebecca Curtis. The selection must give weight to all but one of his eight rivals but there is only 7lbs between all nine runners in the weights and he is taken to progress past today’s field.
At Kelso look out for Looking Well (12.30) stepping up in trip for the in-form Nicky Richards whilst Brother Scott (1.05) ran another game race in defeat at Carlisle last time and suggested he should soon be getting his head back in front.