With an uncertain weather forecast, it’s hard to gauge exactly what the ground will be like for the third day of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting on Friday, which means we may or may not see a clash between Stradivarius and Trueshan in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup (14:40).
Goodwood should have seen the pair take each other on, though Stradivarius was withdrawn on account of soft ground, while at York last time it was Trueshan’s turn to defect, this time on account of the surface being deemed too fast for Alan King’s stayer.
The ideal scenario would probably be for Doncaster to get some rain, albeit not a deluge, and the ground to be somewhere on the easy side of good. I suspect that would please both sets of connections.
It’s certainly not a race that appeals as a betting medium, though like all fans of the sport, I’m hoping that two best stayers of 2021 get to take each other on in what could prove a memorable race.
The Listed Cazoo Flying Scotsman Stakes (13:40) has a competitive look to it, with York flop Noble Truth just about heading the market from Hoo Ya Mall. There’s a big chance that the former could bounce back having been too keen last time, though that’s not something I’d be prepared to bank on, particularly as he takes on some unexposed rivals. This is another race to pass on for punting purposes.
Armor to strike eased in grade
Of much more interest from a betting perspective is the Group 2 Wainwright Flying Childers Stakes (14:10), where we once again get to see Richard Hannon’s Armor, who did this column a good turn when taking the Molecomb at Goodwood in July.
Stepped up in trip and class in Group 1 company at Deauville last time, this son of No Nay Never ran below his Molecomb form but still managed to finish fourth behind Richard Fahey’s Perfect Power. It could be that a six furlongs was just beyond him at this stage, for all that his pedigree suggests he should be better over further than the minimum trip.
With his impressive Goodwood win still relatively fresh in the memory, I expect Armor to bounce back to form in this contest and would have put him in shorter than the currently available prices in what doesn’t look a very strong race for the grade.
With around 9 lb in hand on Timeform ratings, it’s going to take a big step forward from one of his rivals to defeat Armor this time, who could afford to run a little below form and still likely get the job done.
Sevenna Star on a good mark
I was a little disappointed to see the price had started to go about Sevenna Star in the racehorselotto.com Mallard Handicap (15:15) when I set about writing this column, though I think there is still a bit of mileage in backing one that could be absolutely thrown in on old form.
A winner of the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown for John Gosden as a three-year-old, Sevenna Star was allowed to take his chance in the Derby, though didn’t cut much ice in finishing tenth there. A couple of further disappointments followed and he was sold to John Ryan at the end of his three-year-old campaign.
It’s probably fair to say the decline continued for that yard and Sevenna Star found himself in the hands of Emmet Mullins at the start of 2021, where he had three quiet runs over hurdles without landing a telling blow.
It was back on the flat last month, though, where Sevenna Star signalled a revival was imminent. Having dropped to a mark of 78, he finished a good second at Tramore, a run that came on the back of a two-and-a-half-month layoff. Not seen to best effect when fourth last time, having been set plenty do under 7-lb claimer Wesley Joyce, Sevenna Star also met some trouble but finished to good effect when the race was all but over.
Irish readers will be familiar with the talents of apprentice Dylan Browne McMonagle, and this young rider has a chance to really thrust himself into the spotlight under the glare of the ITV cameras as he gets back on Emmet Mullins’ charge, having also been on board for that Tramore runner-up finish.
This is a competitive handicap no doubt, but the selection is now in the hands of one of the shrewdest operators on either side of the Irish Sea, and has the potential to make an absolute mockery of his current mark if Mullins has him back to even of a fraction of the form he showed as a younger horse.