We head over to Doncaster for what looks like a very intriguing contest run over 2 miles 1 furlong at the Yorkshire track. There are some interesting entries here with two runners who have both won this week already and only Nefyn Bay is marginally penalised for his victory. The horse comes here off the back of a very taking victory in a Ladies’ amateur race in which he escaped a penalty and won going away. The better ground should also play into his hoofs too and the competition in the contest is not great.
Norse Light is also a winner this week and the manner of his facile victory yesterday at Ludlow is very interesting given that he has had no rise in the weights for it. Sean Quinlan is doing the steering again and should he show the same sort of appetite that he showed yesterday then he could give the selection a big headache.
There are a couple of interesting outsiders at big prices that could go well and, to be fair are now due after no wins in 9 and 10 starts respectively. Echo Foxtrot looked decent in two handicap chases back in the autumn but failed badly the last day and will need to step up here to replicate that October form. Old Pride is in similar form but the excellent Nico De Boinville takes the ride and he is in sparkling form as of late.
NEFYN BAY (WIN)
Ryan Moore is back in the UK and firing in the winners already with a couple of impressive performances in the week. He saddles Reflation for Richard Hannon Jr in this class 6 handicap. His last two starts have seen some huge improvement and although the stable’s best runners are often 2 year olds, the assistance of the best pound-for-pound jockey in the world on the flat could well see her go one better. The price on the morning line is 6/1 but this could be shorter come the off.
As ever with contests of this class and quality there are plenty of dangers in the field and the most likely types are not always to be found at the head of the market. Toast of Newbury Could also be interesting given the last two runs and in this company she has a big chance. She was in behind the Birkdale Boy the last day but is receiving 7lbs in the weights this time around and there is every chance that form could be reversed.
Total Demolition bids for a hat-trick here and whilst the last two runs saw him get her head in front there is a danger that she could be up against it now. She is at the bottom of the official ratings and will do well to win this one.
We stay at the Yorkshire track for this contest run over the same distance as our other national hunt selection and with a likely to be hot favourite heading the market. The powerful Henderson yard runs Hunter’s Hoof here and after some inside information it appears they have targeted this race to get another victory on the board. The form is well truly in the bag after a creditable run in a Grade 2 race at Aintree back in the Spring and has run well in two other similar contests. The horse is desperate for good ground and with it forecast at Doncaster this should be a gilt-edged opportunity to win again.
Rock of Leon looks the main danger despite somewhat struggling in Grade 2 company last time up at Haydock. Matt Griffiths has had a winner this week and there could be plenty of progress with this horse, however, he will have to improve immeasurably to overtake the selection. The weight gained from the favourite could help but it would take a big effort.
Of the remainder I thought Big Indie, could be a surprise runner based on its good bumper form. Yet the break from the track (nearly 10 months) could hinder it.
HUNTERS HOOF (WIN)