While most of us were asleep on Monday night, CROSS COUNTER was winning the Melbourne Cup, writes Julie Williams.
Trained by Charlie Appleby, it crowned a perfect season which has seen the trainer win 11 Group 1 races including the Derby.
On another continent, race fans at Kentucky were treated to a fine display as this year’s Arc winner ENABLE became the first horse to follow up with a Breeder’s Cup victory.
Back at home, few would doubt the talent of Donald McCain.
Many would, however, wonder if the Bankhouse Stable handler could recover from the breakup with owners Paul and Clare Rooney three years ago and the removal of all their horses from his yard.
His resurgence has been steady and methodical.
With Brian Hughes as stable jockey the return to grace of this Grand National winning trainer continues.
When McCain talks of his useful chaser CLOUDY DREAMS and the prospects for his great new hope amongst the novice chasers, UPPERTOWN PRINCE, it is perhaps time to get out the notebook, and, well, take note.
Before the heavy rains of winter allow for the emergence of the best of the jumps horses, Doncaster stages a feast on the flat this Saturday with the Wentworth Stakes and the Gillies Fillies Stakes the two listed highlights on a competitive card.
The going is currently ‘ good’. But with over 40 runners between both races at the five day declaration stage, finding one who will make the starting line up - let alone a winner - comes with its own particular problems.
In the Fillies Stakes at 1: 30pm the standout statistic is that just one of the last 10 winners has gone off favourite.
MAID TO REMEMBER and QUEEN OF TIME share the dubious honour of being joint favourites at 7/ 2 in an open race with Dermot Weld’s HAZEL BAY a strong third at 5/ 1.
With just one race to her name the daughter of IFFRAAJ was second in a listed event at Navan in April. She was held up off the pace on debut and while never troubling the winner she stayed on strongly.
A trait that could prove handy for the punishing long straight of Doncaster where she is stepping up to 1m 2 furlongs.
At a price Sir Mark Prescotttrained HARMONICA ( 16/ 1) could prove profitable as she continues to improve.
In the Wentworth Stakes DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT ( 4/ 1) is the market leader. Few could argue with that given the fiveyearold was a commendable third to SANDS OF MALI in the British Champions Sprint Stakes last time out.
Time Easterby’s FLYING PURSUIT has run some races in big handicaps and comes with course and distance form.
Should there be rain come Saturday it can only improve the gelding’s chances. The 12/ 1 on offer makes him a decent each way prospect.
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