Friday is the second day of the St Leger festival at Doncaster and our team have looked through the card, including the Doncaster Cup (3:00) and found 3 selections to keep an eye on.
War Rooms is already a winner at Doncaster as he made a winning debut here on soft ground back in July, pulling readily 4-lengths clear of the field in what proved to be a good time considering the underfoot conditions. The recent rain should be of no concern given his debut win in similar conditions and the top speed figure of 71 that he produced on debut would suggest that he is worth a try at this level even if he is light on experience. This is an open race with no obvious star in the field and he should be open to any amount of improvement now that he has made his first visit to the track. Following his win in July, Jim Crowley was quoted as saying “He has got a good mind on him, he’s rangy and will be a lovely horse for next year. Over a mile and a quarter, he’ll be quite smart”. Clearly better is expected as he goes up in trip but for now, he looks like a very exciting prospect and should run his race at a decent price.
Things didn’t go to plan for Big Evs when he took on his elders in the Nunthorpe and it is best to put a line through that effort and judge him on his form against his own age group. He is already a Royal Ascot winner courtesy of his success in the Windsor Castle, and he confirmed the strength of that form when winning in soft conditions at Goodwood. He showed a tenacious attitude on both occasions and looks likely to be suited by the straight 5-furlongs here with the softening ground a definite plus. He has an official rating of 108 which means he comes out best at the weights with his rivals and there is no reason to think that he won’t continue to progress into the autumn once there is a bit more cut in the ground. There is no doubt that the rest of the field will need to improve to get past him and whilst there are some nice types in the line-up, there isn’t a horse that looks certain to do so. If he gets to the front under Tom Marquand, we expect him to be very hard to pass.
Sweet William is the obvious starting point for this Group 2 contest. He has looked highly progressive this season and only found Absurde too good in the Ebor at York last time. He looks more than capable of making up into a Cup horse as he takes his first step into handicap company, but in Coltrane and Trueshan he meets horses who have genuine Group 1 form on their CVs, and he may find this a much more difficult task than the handicaps that he has been winning this season. Coltrane does set the standard, but he has had a relatively hard season and so with rain falling to help his cause, we will side with Trueshan. Alan King’s 7-year-old comes out best at the weights and we know that he needs softer ground to be seen to best effect so the rain the course received earlier in the week will be a blessing for his connections. He has had a wind operation since he was last seen and if that brings out any improvement, his fresher legs may well get him home under Hollie Doyle.
Our team will be back on Saturday to look through the Doncaster card including the final classic of the season, the St Leger.