Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Doncaster on Saturday. View selections below.
PENHILL (3.30) will adapt better than most to very testing conditions on Town Moor and looks sure to go well in the Betfred November Handicap.
Penhill joined Luca Cumani from James Bethell in the close-season and landed an old-fashioned gamble at Ascot on his stable debut in May. Penhill disappointed three weeks later at Newmarket on unsuitably firm ground but performed much better at Haydock (4th) in the bet365 Old Newton Cup. Penhill was back in the winner’s enclosure at Haydock in September, producing a career best when beating Buonarroti (re-opposes here on better terms).
The sole occasion Penhill has raced on deep ground, at Ripon last July, he hosed up by six lengths. He can be a quirky sort so, hopefully, there will be no pre-race antics.
Argus did us a turn over course and distance a fortnight ago and, once again, is the only three-year-old going to post. He is clearly improving with every run. Seamour drops in trip but this could develop into a slog up the middle of the track, which will see his stamina kicking in. Esteaming is looking well handicapped again and didn’t enjoy the clearest of runs on his last outing.
Fittingly, Hayley Turner (rider of Buonarroti in the big handicap) hangs up her saddle at her local track and the ‘First Lady’ of the track has a very sporting chance of landing the race named in her honour.
She rides HILLBILLY BOY (1.50) for Tom Dascombe in the Betfred Good Luck Hayley Turner Handicap over seven furlongs and this course and distance winner on soft ground has been in top form.
The five-year-old enjoyed a 159-day break before running third to Richard Pankhurst at Haydock and occupied the same position behind Tatislu in the William Hill Ayr Silver Cup, with Hayley doing the steering. Hillbilly Boy was sent off favourite at Leicester last time but failed to contain rejuvenated Dinkum Diamond. That’s still smart form.
JACK DEXTER (2.20) always runs well in the Wentworth Stakes, winning in 2013 (under 9st 9lb) and running fourth when made a warm 15-8 favourite 12 months ago. He will find this company less hot than when getting a rear view of Muhaarar in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot and makes each-way appeal. His exposed draw (stall one) isn’t ideal but we know he feels right at home when the mud is flying.
BRANDYBEND (2.55) is well worth her place in the Listed Fillies’ and Mares’ contest. Marco Botti’s three-year-old was wearing a hood for the first time when outrunning her 50-1 starting price in a similar event at Newmarket last month. The daughter of Galileo had been given a long break since running down the field behind Curvy in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, possibly feeling the after-effects of running on fast ground that day, and may find conditions more to her liking here.
MODEST (1.15) has winning form on soft ground, easily landing the spoils in a Catterick nursery over six furlongs. The drop to the minimum trip under a penalty just found her out when unable to reel in Curtain Call at Haydock and Tom Marquand’s 3lb claim negates the handicapper’s 2lb rise.
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