Four picks today from Andy Holding, with plenty of focus on the key meeting at Doncaster!
Some seriously fast two-year-olds on show here but of those that fit into that category, SHUMOOKHI (best price 11-1) appears the one who’s been the most overlooked based on the early morning prices. Yes, she might have been the chief beneficiary of the favourable middle track position at Newbury last time out but she showed serious pace throughout and her winning time figure backed up the visually impression of the gate-to-wire performance.
Whether she tries to emulate those tactics again this afternoon remains to be seen because there are several others – including stable mate Soldiers Call – who like to get on with things – but either way, Archie Watson’s filly is just too talented to ignore and she should give a good account of herself at the very least.
A wide draw and lack of an outing for 283 days were two factors always likely to count against MASSA LUBRENSE (NAP) (best price 7-1) at Roscommon last time out, so the fact that John Geoghegan’s gelding almost overcame those negatives says plenty for his natural ability.
Turning for home towards the rear of the field at the Lenebane venue, the son of Intense Focus made up a tremendous amount of ground in the closing stages to finish a never-nearer second to Hatton’s Cross and given that he wasn’t subject to a particularly hard ride in doing so (only had two flicks of the whip by Gary Halpin), the performance deserves extra merit. Likely to come on a bundle from that run, the lightly-raced four-year-old who has a distinct preference for soft ground makes plenty of appeal at the morning odds.
Sangarius is likely to be all the rage following his eye-catching victory on debut at Newmarket, but the places seem up for grabs so the best approach is the play DUBAI DOMINION (best price w/out fav 6-1) in the ‘without the favourite’ market.
A game winner of a useful maiden at Newmarket back in July, the son of Pivotal stepped up markedly on that effort to finish a credit third to Kuwait Currency in a listed contest at Salisbury last time out and with the speed figure suggesting it was a very smart race of its kind (Arctic Sound won since), he has every right to command more respect than his position in the market currently affords. Providing he runs to the same level here this afternoon, it’s hard to see him not featuring in the finish.
Now LOVEISILI (best price 11-4) has finally got the monkey off his back he will hopefully go on to better things and today’s handicap debut can be the first step up the class ladder. Runner-up in his previous two starts, the jury was out to a small degree whether he had the stomach for a battle, but that notion was disproved unequivocally with his gutsy display at Wolverhampton last time out.
In a race run at a sound pace throughout, Roger Varian’s gelding had to really get down and dirty in the closing stage to fashion out the victory and with the time good and the front pair pulling well clear of the rest, the form looks pretty solid in the context of today’s race.