Wednesday 9 January 2019

Doncaster - January 9

Good to firm in places in this driest of winters and a card that can often cut up at the best of times was a pretty weak affair, although there are always betting opportunities if you look hard enough.

The opening match produced one such bet with the very likeable novice Talkischeap taking on the exposed mare Theatre Territory over 3m.

I have a strong suspicion Talkischeap is some way ahead of his current mark of 145 after going down to Le Bague Au Roi on both outings so far - surely the best novice form around this season.

Lostintranslation bolstered the form with victory at Cheltenham and I had no doubt A King's horse would take the measure of his sole rival after the last, with the race panning out pretty much as anticipated pre-race.

The winner is lazy in front, but a thorough stayer, and the Ultima at Cheltenham is screaming out to be won by this horse; however I was reminded that the yard has a horse owned by the owner of Ultima being aimed at the race, so it could be that Talkischeap heads for something like the RSA.

He would be an interesting longshot for that race, but King, for so many years the type of handler to enjoy handicap success with his good novices, will know the right race for this one and he will be worth backing wherever he ends up.

On the day, the 'won-by' bet was always likely to cop barring accidents as he was never going to win by far, so it turned out to be a decent start.

I had completely forgotten about a horse called Diggin Deep who bumped into one last time out with the pair coming well clear but clapping eyes on him rang distant bells and this nice big chase type appears to have turned the corner in a big way.

The only danger in the second looked to be the JJ O'Neill youngster The Manuscript, a surprisingly useful looker for all that he made pretty hard work of a thoroughly exposed type last time.

The Manuscript looked slow again on this decent ground as Diggin Deep powered home in the style of an in-form horse, the hard-fit Uno Mas chasing him home in the end. Katie Connell got really warm in first-time blinkers and little else caught the eye.

With hot favourite Before Midnight scratched from the maiden hurdle it didn't leave much depth to a seven-runner race, and it was left to De Forgotten One to show the rest a clear pair of hooves.

In fairness, he stayed on nicely after poaching an early advantage giving T Vaughan just his third winner since the end of November. Chocolate Box made a pleasing start to his new career and can surely win races, while Ah Well rattled home for third but there was no fluke about his effort, as this chase type looked pretty forward on a belated debut.

Colonel Miller, Imperial Elysian and Early Learner didn't make much appeal and need more time for one reason or another.

Another weak novice hurdle came up next and it was a case of deja vu as Diamond Gait went wire-to-wire for the in-form Bailey/Bass combo, finding plenty up the long straight to see off Lunar Jet who seemed to run on while wandering left and right. He's hard fit and probably isn't improving so may need a weak race if he's to win one.

Magellan is a very big chase type so may need time to find his feet over obstacles despite his experience on the level, but Defi Sacre showed enough to suggest he'llwin again and he's not a bad sort.

Special Prep went firmly in to the notebook after his chase debut at Southwell in early September but had been disappointing since, although after being highly tried next time I was quoted as saying he had "a big task in just his second chase and he'll have other days with his sights lowered."

A pretty miserable effort in a match last time meant he was off the radar and plenty of trust had to be put in first-time cheekpieces if you were to take a chance at rewarding odds of 10/1 (to my eternal misery, I didn't).

That said, Plantaganet was a short price on what he had achieved last time out, his cramped odds surely a result of four favourites having bounded in plus another five over at Taunton.

He was one to take on, but the race fell apart with Thomas Todd, a big quirky looking individual again marring his effort with mistakes, while Laugharne and Fawsley Spirit dropped away tamely and the diminutive Fifty Shades has not gone on from his brave Cheltenham effort.

The closing mares handicap hurdle looked really competitive with all five runners having chances, as such there seemed little reason why Petronella Manners should go off as short as 2/1, unless you felt she would be another to take a giant leap forward for the addition of cheekpieces.

A scopey sort, she looks quirky and bit flighty, not really finding a great deal under the cosh and possibly keeping something back (she's related to the mercurial Go West Young Man). The P Kirby debutant Cara's Way took the eye beforehand, well made and having some presence, and it was no surprise that she was tight in the betting.

Overcoming a mid-race blunder, she could be marked up for this success, and she'll surely jump a fence in time, something that can't be said for Katebird, who continues to be a little disappointing.


  1. Nice report.. cara' s way a model albeit a slow one.. very moderate race

  2. Great article! I'm a fan of Canadian George. I hope it will be a good choice. I've read this guide and I'm ready to place my bet.