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Betway Doncaster Mile (UK) preview

The Flat season starts in the UK on Saturday with the traditional Doncaster meeting. Many highlights on the card including the Brocklesby for 2yos, the Spring Mile and of course the Lincoln Handicap. But the stakes feature of the day is the Doncaster Mile, not to be confused with the $3m handicap from Randwick!

Taking the reins for this race is recent addition to the blog, Alex Peperell, @Al_Peps.

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Betway Doncaster Mile Stakes
Listed, £37,000, One Mile
Doncaster Saturday, 1500 BST, 0100 AEDT


It’s that time of the year again, the flat is well and truly back. We have a great card at Doncaster with the Lincoln being the highlight and also some decent all weather action at Kempton. The Doncaster Mile looks like it could be a cracker with a stellar line-up.

John Gosden is double-handed here with Castle Harbour and Crazy Horse. Frankie Dettori has chosen to ride the latter so you would think he is the more forward of the two. He is a very lightly raced four-year old with just six appearances under his belt so he should have plenty of improvement still to come. The only time he has been out of the top two was in the French 2,000 Guineas where he was sixth but far from disgraced, obviously amongst Group 1 performers that day he clearly has plenty of ability. Kool Kompany was extremely good as a two-year old but hasn’t build on that and was behind Crazy Horse at Salisbury. As for Castle Harbour, he began is career promisingly with a couple of impressive victories at Newmarket and York but hasn’t quite hit the same heights since. A sixth at Royal Ascot in the Jersey Stakes is decent form but two sub par efforts subsequently wouldn’t fill me with much confidence. It is worth noting however that he has been gelded which can often settle horses down and bring out improvement, so I wouldn’t rule him out.

Toscanini has recently been moved to Richard Fahey’s yard so he can be used as a pacemaker for Ribchester. Therefore I find it strange that he is pitched up here, he usually races over five or six furlongs so I understand the case for him being a pacemaker in races at a mile but I struggle to envisage him being competitive in one. He may well appreciate the step up in trip, but he’s not for me.

Custom Cut, Tullius and Big Baz have all been around the block but they are probably up against it here amongst a few lightly raced youngsters. The former probably has the most chance given the conditions.

At the start of last season Stormy Antarctic laid down his 2,000 Guineas claims when an impressive winner of the Craven Stakes, but that turned out to be his only win of what was ultimately a disappointing campaign. In saying that, his four subsequent runs were all in Group 1 company and this drop in class coupled with the slightly softer ground will aid his cause.

A couple of outings in Dubai will give Cymric a fitness edge over the majority of these, but whether he is good enough to take advantage of that I’m not sure. He has consistently raced at a high level over the past couple of years but has only won in lower class of races. Dark Emerald was behind him in Meydan and has plenty to find.

Lastly, Dawn Of Hope is a three times winner and will appreciate conditions providing it doesn’t dry out too much. She won well on her first start last season so she clearly goes well fresh, if this is strongly run then a drop down to a mile shouldn’t be an inconvenience to her.

I will stress that there are so many unknowns at this point in the flat season in as much as horses might not be quite fit enough yet, they may not have trained on and ground conditions might not suit. Therefore I wouldn’t go mad with any hefty bets, good luck!

1) Crazy Horse
2) Stormy Antarctic
3) Castle Harbour/Dawn Of Hope

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