Doncaster Saturday – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

THE FLAT IS BACK! With Cheltenham now done and dusted we now turn our eye to the turf season, with the traditional Doncaster Lincoln meeting kicking things off, writes LEWIS WILLIAMS.

There’s still National Hunt action from Newbury where Simon Nott is stationed for a betting ring report arriving shortly after the final race.

1.20 Doncaster – William Hill Doncaster Mile Stakes (Listed Race) 1m (Str)

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The Listed Doncaster Mile Stakes occupies the spot as the turf curtain raiser this year and I love the look of Knight to strike. His juvenile campaign boasted a flawless two from two record and the Mehmas colt was mightily impressive when winning the Group 3 Horris Hill at Newbury. They put him away after that performance but it led to him being sent off a 9/2 2nd favourite for the Greenham where he finished a long way behind Isaac Shelby.

He was a late withdrawal from the Poule d’Essai des Poulains but his best performance for me last year was at Goodwood in the Celebration Mile where James Doyle carved his path through the pack between Holguin and Charyn and surely thought he had the race sewn up at that point. However, Lagardere winner Angel Bleu came from a different planet under Hector Crouch on the rails to claim the Group 2 prize late on. Despite being rated 3lbs inferior on Saturday, he had Charyn well beaten in Chichester that day who wasn’t seen since and there should probably be more than a quarter of a point separating them in this market.

Other runs include being slow to start and probably not staying in the Darley Stakes where he raced in the middle of the headquarters heath as well as running a great race but failing to get past the ever-consistent Chindit in Sandown’s Listed Fortune Stakes. There’s no Angel Bleu or Chindit to run against on Saturday. Holloway Boy has it all to prove since his juvenile campaign and the field for this year’s renewal is a night and day difference from what Astral Beau beat last year.

Knight won on both Good to Soft as well as a boggy heavy surface so the soft ground isn’t a concern in the slightest and 3/1 is a fair price that he can strike at this level.

2.25 Doncaster – William Hill Epic Boost Spring Mile Handicap (Class 2) 1m (Str)

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They go 7/1 the field in the Lincoln consolation race which is arguably a better betting race from a punting perspective than the feature itself. The No Nay Never 5 year old Dirtyoldtown won a Newmarket handicap in November on heavy ground but before that spent his previous 5 starts of the year running downfield including in this race last year.

The draw gave him absolutely no chance in the 2023 renewal and it was a farce of a group on the far side rail where all of the five horses in that pack were virtually pulled up at the 3 pole. He went off a single-figure price that day and was not in the race for one moment. A mark of 2 stone less wouldn’t have won him that race in that tiny far-side group and the long distance beaten wasn’t necessarily by his own doing.

Stall 11 tomorrow will be much more to his liking and he’s 5lbs lower than his mark last year thanks to some downfield efforts in the summer, and who knows what would’ve happened last year if he was drawn on the correct side. He’s a fair bet at 17/2.

3.35 Doncaster – William Hill Lincoln (Heritage Handicap) 1m (Str)

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There doesn’t seem to be an unexposed equivalent of Addeybb, Auxerre or Haqeeqy in this year’s renewal of the Lincoln but the next best thing is probably the recently gelded Liberty Lane. The Teofilo 4 year old started his Classic season campaign beaten 3 lengths to subsequent Hampton Court winner Waipiro in a Craven day novice before fading in the Dante beaten 6 lengths when looking for a long way like he was going to go close after making all.

Liberty Lane struck over course and distance in the summer on soft ground when he gamely rallied back after being headed from the front to beat Sonny Liston by a nose and pulling a nice way clear of La Trinidad in 3rd.

He stays all day long and a fast ground Cambridgeshire was probably too sharp for him most recently as trainer Karl Burke has stated a mile on soft ground would be his minimum trip and that’s exactly what he gets on Saturday. Prominent tactics see him to best effect and drawn 20 of 21 he should be primed to take up a keen spot on the near side rail with regular pilot Clifford Lee and go close.

6.45 Wolverhampton – Find More Big Deals At BetUK Handicap (Class 6) 1m2f

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Taking a quick detour to the twilight Wolverhampton fixture, Bernie The Bear has been knocking on the door for a win off a mark of 52 and I am confident that one of these days will belong to him after being an eyecatcher in the majority of his starts this year.

The Elzaam gelding has been fairly consistent this winter for Linda Perratt and has been beaten just over 4 lengths or less in his last 6 starts. Although he frequently seems to be asleep in the stalls, most recently over an extra furlong at Wolves he finished best of the chasing pack from the rear under Ben Coen in a race where those on the pace never looked back.

Going back further to two starts ago at Newcastle, Bernie looked to have the race won from the front end but was swallowed up by Noble Captain on the golden Tyneside highway on the near side rail. He returns to this course and distance for the first time since his last win which was off this mark and he has a top chance to finally put an end to his winning drought under Kevin Stott.

LEWIS WILLIAMS

RECOMMENDED BETS
BACK Knight to win the 1.20 at Doncaster 1pt at 11/4 (⭐


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BACK Dirtyoldtown to win the 2.25 at Doncaster 1pt at 17/2 (⭐


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BACK Liberty Lane to win the 3.35 at Doncaster 2pt at 4/1 (⭐


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BACK Bernie The Bear to win the 6.45 at Wolverhampton 2pts at 2/1 (⭐


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PROFIT/LOSS (FEB 2024): +19.88 points

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Author: Eugene Morris