RACING fan Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) picks out his best bets from a busy Saturday card.
13:50 Doncaster | ITV4
The Flat season is back and Doncaster hosts the curtain raiser for the domestic season. We start with a 6 furlong Listed race and as tends to be the way with sprints it looks a difficult puzzle to solve however there is one at a big price I’m taking a chance on.
Mobsta won this race last season and has to be respected defending his crown. He seems to be at his best on soft ground and despite soft being in the title he may find it a little quick here. However he does have good form and this is likely to be his early season target so should run well.
Birchwood strikes me as a horse without a real identity and Richard Fahey has decided to give him a go at sprinting this season. He has fallen short at Group 1 level but he is a hugely talented colt. If this works out he could mix it with the top sprinters however he has never struck me as a real sprinter and he’s a watching brief for me.
I’m going to take a big chance here on one at a huge price in the form of Blue Bayou. A Group 3 winner as a juvenile she ran twice last season over a mile (including 1000 Guineas) and showed very little.
I’m ignoring her 3 year old form as if connections have decided to keep her in training rather than cash in on sending her to the paddocks then she must be showing something at home. Frankie Dettori is booked to ride and I’m chancing her each way today.
14:25 Doncaster | ITV4
The Spring Mile handicap looks a really tight affair with some horses of real potential lining up. Like many early season races fitness has to be taken on trust however I think there is one in here who will more than pay their way this season.
Sacred Act is a fragile sort who is lightly raced but has a lot of talent. He’s won two from five however he has thrown in a couple of below par runs in between. He won well off a break last season and looks to have improvement left in him so has to be respected here.
Nimr has had a great time of things on the all weather and comes in to this race with fitness on his side. He is another progressive type and if he’s as effective on turf as he is at Wolverhampton then he could win this easily. However this a vastly different test and I’m in no rush to back him.
The one I like is the Sir Michael Stoute trained Ballet Concerto. It took him an age to learn the game and for a while it to looked like he was going to struggle to break his maiden. However like many of the yards horses he improved with every start and now looks a decent prospect.
He’s been gelded and Sir Michael Stoute seems to get the most out out these types of horses at four. He’s a very interesting here and I suspect he will be better than this level later in the season.
15:00 Doncaster | ITV4
The Doncaster Mile is the classiest race of the day and it’s attracted some horses of Group class. It’s normally won by decent sort and I expect this to be no exception with a Group 1 horse taking a big drop in class here.
Crazy Horse has a huge reputation and after winning his first two starts he was well fancied when sent across for the French Guineas. He ran ok there and returned to France later in the year to claim some place money in pattern company. He is a good horse and will love conditions here so has to have a great chance.
Custom Cut is a hardy sort who seems to thrive with racing and as much as he runs with credit most times he struggles to win. He failed to get his head in front last season and though he is well up to winning this he is more of a reliable placepot option than a genuine win bet.
The one I really like here is Stormy Antarctic. An impressive winner of the Craven last season first time out he never managed to add to that, however he raced only in Group 1 races and managed a second in France.
He gets in to this without a penalty for his Group 3 win and with the stable amongst the winners early on and the ground on his side I am very keen to back him today.