2019 Doncaster Handicap Betting Preview

The well-weighted younger horses dominate the early market in this year’s Doncaster with 3yo Brutal coming up the early $6* favourite and Alizee and Fifty Stars hot on his tail at $7.50*. Although they have the upside we believe there’s some value to be found with some more seasoned gallopers.

Jack Zuber
Wed, 3 Apr, 12:00 AM

Race Shape:

Randwick has had a good rest with the advent of the Rosehill carnival. The rail is in the true and the recent weather has been much kinder than the past few weeks. Currently rated a soft 7 (Wednesday) the forecast has recently worsened, and the track manager has stated best case scenario will be a soft 6 which a chance of getting into the heavy range. Expecting a fair surface with horses blending into the race from the running line getting the best of it – typical Randwick.

The big field should generate at least a genuine tempo with the likes of Dreamforce, Brutal and Siege Of Quebec leading them up. Fundamentalist won’t be too far away from an inside draw with no weight and both the old boys Hartnell and Le Romain should kick up and get beautiful trails. Both A Am Serious and Fifty Stars can show early speed but face opposite problems being drawn in 1 and 24 respectively. The midfielders look neaerly impossible to separate – Eckstein, Violate and Dixie Blossoms perhaps the next few. Shillelagh faces a task going back to last from an inside draw and other Waller runners Life Less Ordinary and Unforgotten won’t be pushed early.

The Key Runners:

1. Hartnell (7) - $10*

J: H. Bowman (58kg) T: J. Cummings

The old boy lines up in his 27th Group 1 race looking for his 5th win at the top level. He handles all conditions and looks to map excellently just behind the lead outside Fundamentalist. He’s a proven weight carrier who’s been racing well over the mile recently, including winning the Group 1 Epsom at this track and distance last preparation. That Epsom win was off an absolutely brutal speed when he toughed them out late. This tempo only looks moderate but with a big field and testing track his chances are only enhanced. It’s easy to mount a case he should’ve gone to the line with Mystic Journey in the All-Star mile last start as he was held up at a critical stage and what price would she be here? Seems good odds once again.

2. Le Romain (16) - $21*

J: J. McDonald (57kg) T: K. Lees

Presented in outstanding order prior to his huge run in the All-Star mile. After settling behind the lead, he took a small gap back towards the rail and surged to the front at the 300m mark. He was eventually run down and finished 4th less than a length behind horses who are up to one-third his odds here. To compound his chances, he looks to map nicely, handles the wet (was the subject of an enormous plunge in last year’s Everest when finishing 4th), is a dual Group 1 winner at 1600m and gets a positive jockey change. Why is he $21?

  3. Alizee (12) - $7.50*

J: B. Shinn (56.5kg) T: J. Cummings

She’s been brilliant this preparation winning the Expressway in dominant fashion en route to taking out the Group 1 Futurity over 1400m. She’d been favourite for the All-Star mile almost since its conception and ran a good race into with a $4.20 SP. She showed her usual turn of foot in that race but just went flat over the final 100m, which really begs the question of whether you’d want to be taking her to a testing Group 1 1600m race next start. It’s interesting the Bowman has now got on Hartnell after riding Alizee in her last two, but Shinn is no downgrade. Although he’ll have to be very good from 12 with plenty of other midfielders drawn around him as he can’t waste her early. Doesn’t look much margin in her price but she can certainly figure.  

6. Dixie Blossoms (14) - $21*

J: C. Reith (53kg) T: R. Quinton.  

Got her much-deserved Group 1 last start in the Coolmore on a boggy Rosehill track. She was completely unwanted in the betting, drifting out to in excess of $21 late but all the gaps appeared for Reith and he drove her through for what was a dominant win in the end. Perhaps now she’s just looking for wet tracks given she’s 4:2-1-0 on wet tracks since the start of 2018 and her one failure she lost a plate in running. If so she looks big odds here with a golden switch to a middle draw. Find it hard to see her beating some of the boys despite dropping 3.5kg but she could certainly add some spice into your exotics.

10. Unforgotten (18) - $15*

J: K. McEvoy (51.5kg) T: C. Waller

She was savagely backed last-start in the Ranvet after opening double figures she jumped a clear second-elect at $6.50 (bottoming out at $4.80). Unfortunately for her backers she did absolutely nothing. Got the perfect run one out one back, had clear running in the straight only to go backwards. That run coupled with the failure of Egg Tart (again) is really starting to solidify the hollowness of the form behind Winx and Happy Clapper. We do concede she drops 5.5kg form that run and comes back in distance giving her an excellent platform but once again she looks priced on what she did as a 3yo and the fact you see Winx in her form.

15. Fifty Stars (24) - $7.50*

J: J. McNeil (50kg) T: D. & B. Hayes & T. Dabernig

He’s a lightly-raced 4yo with upside that gets in well at the weights and relishes the wet. However, we struggle to see any substance in his form. His two wins this campaign have been in very hollow Group 2 races, beating some of the country’s most renowned non-winners. You could mount a case to say his lone Group 1 run in the C.F. Orr was passable considering he was only beaten 2.75L and pulled up with mucus, though he still finished 11th. The widest gate also presents plenty of trouble for McNeil. Very easy to mark him double his current odds.  

16. I Am Serious (1) - $26*

J: K. Teetan (50kg) T: C. Waller.

Started a $5 favourite in the Coolmore and couldn’t produce much late in the heavy ground after being no closer than 5 wide no cover the trip in a mid-field position. Given the ground, she pulled up with a slow recovery and that the quinella of that race came from close to the fence it’s easy to forgive that effort. Prior to that she has excellent form, testing Avilius twice last preparation over 1900m+ and disposing of the Angst Stakes field when dropping back in distance to the 1600m on a soft 7.  She drops 5kg but that’s more than offset by the jockey change to Karis Teetan and barrier 1. If the field is broken up by a good tempo she’ll be coming home well, looks a bit of value at $26*. 

18. Fundamentalist (2) - $11*

J: B. Thompson (49kg) T: D. & B. Hayes & T. Dabernig

We like the 4 weeks off after two tough on-pace efforts in the Vanity, Surround Stakes and Randwick Guineas – that’s the top 3yo form. She’s run two good races on rain affected tracks and being by Not A Single Doubt with only 49kg to carry, she should be fine with a genuine 1600m on this track. Thompson will likely kick up from gate 2 and sit just astern of the leaders, making them do some work to cross would be in her favour. Priced about right at $11 can easily see her running in the finish.

19. Brutal (21) - $6F*

J: G. Boss (49kg) T: M. J. & W. Hawkes

The lightly-raced 3yo colt started his life with 3 wins from 3 starts in Melbourne (only up to listed grade). He carried a short SP throughout all of those starts, which saw him come up an odds-on favourite in the Southern Cross Stakes over 1200m first-up in Sydney. He had no luck there wide the trip and still finished off beaten only 0.3L into third. That run had plenty of merit, but the form is questionable given the winner Eckstein is a $101 chance here. His next start in the Canterbury Stakes has to be ignored as he didn’t make an impression after losing a plate in the run. Finally, something went right for him in the George Ryder when getting everything go his way on-speed he kicked hard into the straight to run 2nd behind Winx with a significant 2.8L margin back to Dreamforce in 3rd. He drops 7kg for that effort but looks to need the weight relief given he’ll have to be driven out of the gates form 21 to come across and sit on-pace at a good clip with horses like Dreamforce and Siege Of Quebec capable of forcing the issue. He’s certainly not proven at Group 1 level and looks priced on hype.



  1. Hartnell ($10*).
  2. Le Romain ($21*).
  3. Fundamentalist ($11*).
  4. Dixie Blossoms ($21*).


Betting Plan:

Keen to take on those atop the market and back some at double-figures:


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