Can Star Stayer Stradivarius Land Friday’s Doncaster Cup?
Doncaster Cup Preview & Selection
The feature race on Day 3 of Doncaster’s St Leger Festival is the Doncaster Cup. This 2m2f Group 2 contest has been won by the likes of Times Up, Estimate and Stradivarius in recent years, and this year’s renewal promises to be a cracker. Here at Racing Tips, we have produced a runner-by-runner preview of the Doncaster Cup, which includes our idea of the big race winner and predicted 1-2-3.
2. STRADIVARIUS (T: John & Thady Gosden, J: Frankie Dettori)
Exceptional stayer who has so far gained three Gold Cups, four Goodwood Cups, three Lonsdale Cups and a victory in this very race back in 2019 in a 29-race career. Showed that his appetite for this game remained when scoring at York last time, and he comes out best on these terms. Very difficult to oppose.
3. EAGLES BY DAY (T: David O’Meara, J: Daniel Tudhope)
Made a winning debut for this yard in a Group 3 at York last July, but he is 0-5 since. Beaten just shy of 40 lengths in the Ebor last time and this is an exponentially tougher assignment. Needs a tongue-tie to bring about an exponential amount of improvement.
4. NAYEF ROAD (T: Mark Johnston, J: Andrea Atzeni)
Respectable third behind Stradivarius in the Sagaro Stakes on seasonal reappearance, but he has failed to match that level in four starts since. The ground went against him when behind Trueshan in the Goodwood Cup latest, and returning to this surface should suit, but he has had multiple chances to get the better of Stradivarius and as of yet has failed to do so.
5. RODRIGO DIAZ (T: David Simcock, J: Jamie Spencer)
Started life handicapping last summer off a mark of just 59 and now finds himself rated 105. Put up a clear career-best performance when runner-up to Hukum in the Geoffrey Freer last time, but that horse has subsequently blotted the formbook somewhat. Needs further improvement but he should stay this far and rates a live each-way contender.
6. THE GRAND VISIR (T: Ian Williams, J: Richard Kingscote)
Consistent sort who has recorded a triple-figure RPR in each of his six starts this season. Losing run now stretches back well over two years, however, and he was thoroughly put in his place by Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup last month – no obvious reason why he will reverse that form.
7. ALERTA ROJA (T: Sir Mark Prescott, J: Luke Morris)
Archetypal Sir Mark Prescott improver who flew up the handicap racks earlier this season. Narrowly held in a German Listed contest last month, but that still rates as a career-best. Will need even more to trouble the likes of Trueshan and Stradivarius here though, even accounting for her sizable weight allowances.
Big Race Verdict
STRADIVARIUS confirmed he retained all his enthusiasm for racing when landing the Lonsdale Cup last month. He comes out best on these terms, has ground conditions to suit, and regular pilot Frankie Dettori aboard, so there appears no reason why he shouldn’t be up to taking this. Rodrigo Diaz can continue his upward trajectory and chase the selection home, whilst Nayef Road hinted at a return to form last time and may occupy third place.