Tuesday’s race of the day 14 January – Who will win the feature race at Doncaster?
Brian Healy gives his runner-by-runner thoughts on Tuesday's feature race at Doncaster.
Tuesday’s feature race of the day comes from Doncaster where there is a competitive chase contest going to post at 2.10pm featuring some promising sorts taking their chance.
The Sky Bet Cheltenham Non Runner No Bet Beginners’ Chase takes place over an extended 2m 4f trip around Town Moor, and eight runners will go to post for the Town Moor feature which sees some useful hurdling sorts try to find their stride over the larger obstacles.
Caribean Boy (5/2, Bet365) makes his first start for Nicky Henderson having arrived at Seven Barrows from France, and the Myboycharlie gelding has to command respect being sent straight over fences.
Formerly with FM Cottin, for whom he won over hurdles in France, he hasn’t been seen since finishing runner-up on his final outing at Auteuil in a Listed contest where he was only narrowly denied by less than one length although that run came some 21 months ago.
The yard however knows how to ready one, and he’s sure to have been well schooled ahead of this first outing for his new handler so it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise to see him competitive despite lacking a fitness edge.
Cotswold Way (7/2, Bet365) was progressive as a hurdler during the 2018/19 season, winning three times prior to posting a very creditable eights in the Lanzarote Hurdle twelve months ago, and he rounded off last season in the early-summer with a win at Taunton prior to finishing fourth to Dashel Drasher at Cheltenham in April on his final start.
Philip Hobbs’ charge has had three starts over fences this term, better for his debut at Huntingdon when posting successive runner-up efforts at Ludlow, latterly behind Espoir De Teillee where Burrows Edge – who won the Lanzarote Hurdle on Saturday – was a faller.
That was a decent contest and the Stowaway gelding can give another good account from the front although he might just prove vulnerable to one with greater scope.
Garrettstown (6/1, Bet365) has some useful hurdling form in the book from last season, beating Deyrann De Carjac at Market Rasen before finishing runner-up in two of his next three starts, and Olly Murphy’s charge made a pleasing comeback over the smaller obstacles at Aintree in October where he found only Stoney Mountain too strong.
The Doyen gelding was subsequently far from disgraced on his chase debut behind Good Boy Bobby where he finished fourth, and he was still pitching when brought down at Ludlow last time behind Espoir De Teillee and Cotswold Way although he had made a couple of fairly serious jumping errors prior to his departure.
He should know more this time around and he’s not discounted with a clear round although these are stiffer fences and he won’t get away with similar mistakes at this track.
Nestor Park (10/1, Bet365) won twice over hurdles last term, scoring successes at Warwick and Newcastle although he had failed to beat a rival inbetween those wins when contesting the Challow Hurdle where he finished last of seven runners.
Ben Pauling’s charge ended last term on a low note with a pair of pulled-up efforts at Aintree and Warwick respectively, and he made it a hat-trick of incompletions when again pulled up on his reappearance when tried for the first time over fences at Cheltenham behind Mister Fisher.
The Walk In The Park gelding made a couple of mistakes in that contest, and he was well beaten when pulled up before jumping the second last. He’ll need a big bounce back here, and first-time cheekpieces are deployed in a bid to sharpen him up, but he didn’t show enough last time to suggest he’d make a big splash over fences and improvement will be needed.
THE BIG BITE (10/3, Bet365) won two of his three starts in bumpers before registering back-to-back wins on each of his first two hurdles starts which include a decent contest at Haydock; and Tom George’s charge was far from disgraced in three subsequent defeats which included twice in Grade One company at Cheltenham and Aintree respectively.
The Scorpion gelding had wind surgery ahead of his reappearance and chase debut at Kempton in November, eventually finishing fourth behind Master Tommytucker in what looked a hot race, and he could build on that experience to do better here.
He had travelled well for a long way in that contest, but he weakened out of the race in the manner of one who would clearly benefit from the outing, and with the run under his belt he ought to be capable of better given his hurdles form leaves him with plenty of scope.
The form of his chase debut looks decent and he finished ahead of a subsequent winner, while the winner of that race was tried in a Grade One next time. He should strip fitter for his reappearance and know more about what is required over the larger obstacles, and no surprise to see him improve.
Senior Citizen (10/1, Bet365) failed to progress over hurdles last term following his win at Chepstow on his first attempt over obstacles, and the Tobougg gelding now tries his hand at chasing having cut little ice in subsequent starts which includes beating only one home behind Aye Right at Ayr when last seen.
Alan King’s charge was beaten the thick end of forty lengths on that occasion, but he had finished runner-up in an Irish point-to-point prior to joining this yard and a switch to chasing on his seasonal return may see him in a better light.
He does however make his first start since that last down-the-field effort, and his hurdles form leaves him with a bit to find; while he could post a decent first run over the larger obstacles there looks to be stronger options in opposition, and he might struggle on this occasion over fences to get competitive.
Stay Humble (10/1, Bet365) was a fairly useful sort when trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins, winning twice which includes a Downpatrick bumper and a Sligo hurdles contest; but he failed to match that level of form in subsequent starts and the Beat Hollow gelding looks up against it here as he makes his chase debut.
Pauline Robson’s charge was a point-to-point winner in Ireland however, so a switch to chasing might prove a positive; but he ran poorly when last seen out at Sligo over hurdles where he failed to beat a rival home behind Take A Turn.
He has joined a yard not really renowned for first-time winners, and he might well need this first run of the campaign to put him right. He may well improve however from his hurdles form now that he tackles fences,but this is no easy task he faces and he is perhaps best watched.
Completing the sextet for this contest, Turning Gold (6/1, Bet365) was a dual-winner on the flat for Sir Mark Prescott, and the Pivotal gelding has shown a useful level of form over hurdles over the past couple of seasons with wins at Haydock and Leicester, and he build encouragingly on a pipe-opener on the flat at Nottingham in October to find only a couple too good back at Haydock in December.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge was beaten just over two lengths into third on that occasion behind Newtown Boy where he wasn’t helped by a couple of jumping mistakes in that contest.
Now tried over fences, his breeding doesn’t scream out that he’s a chaser in the making despite him being a big and burly sort, but given his connections he has to be respected switching to the larger obstacles and he can give a good account although others have stronger claims on balance of their form and he might just need this first experience.
Cotswold Way sets a decent standard on his chase performances to date, while Caribean Boy has joined a top yard and it could be significant that he is immediately sent chasing.
However, THE BIG BITE (10/3, Bet365 was a smart hurdler last term, and he ought to come on for his chase debut at Kempton in what was a pretty decent contest behind Master Tommytucker.
The Scorpion gelding travelled well for some way in that contest, but he weakened out of contention in the manner of one who needed the outing and he should strip much fitter now with that under his belt.
He finished ahead of a subsequent victor, while the race-winner went on to contest in a Grade One contest, and he was arguably the pick of these over hurdles so he has scope for better on his second chase start and he can improve for his debut experience to get off the mark now.