Doncaster Saturday

1:20 William Hill Doncaster Mile Stakes (Listed) 1m

Astral Beau has won first time out on both years she has raced, each time on April 1st, and she clearly comes to hand early. She was an easy winner of this contest on heavy ground last season, and conditions are again ideal for her.

That’s also true for the pair ahead of her in the market, but the fitting of a visor is a worry for Knight, who was well held on his return last year in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, and has shown all his best form in the second half of the year.

Charyn is a big danger on the form he showed behind Paddington in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, but he failed to win subsequently and is increasingly looking slightly flattered by that effort.

1:50 William Hill EBF Brocklesby Stakes 5f 3y

The Brocklesby is utter guesswork for those approaching the race from afar, and Mystical Elegance is a token selection based on the excellent record of AMO-owned juveniles first time out.

Her half-sister Gypsy Spirit was a debut winner over five furlongs as a two-year-old (her only success) and Mystical Elegance should be ready to go being an early-February foal with a precocious pedigree. Sure to have done plenty of stalls work, she makes the most appeal in the field of newcomers.

2:25 William Hill Epic Boost Spring Mile Handicap 1m

Thunder Roar was most progressive throughout the latter half of last year, winning competitive soft/heavy ground handicaps here and at York, both over seven furlongs. He came back from his winter break to warm up for this at Southwell a couple of weeks ago, again over seven furlongs, running a promising race to finish third, just weakening late on, and that should have teed him up nicely for this.

All his winning form so far is over seven furlongs but he was staying on over Chester’s seven and a half furlong trip when third there in September. His former trainer Kevin Ryan tried him over as far as a mile and three, and he is bred to stay beyond a mile, so I believe that he could progress further now tackling a mile for the first time since joining Tony Coyle (now training in partnership with Kaine Wood).

Others on the shortlist include Dirtyoldtown, who burst back to life with a heavy-ground win for new trainer Dylan Cunha at the back end of last year, and a mark of 82 is still 6lb below where he was this time last year.

Maysong is a reliable sort in the mud, while the unexposed Helter Skelter was an eye-catching third in a Killarney maiden (mile, heavy) before joining Rebecca Menzies. That pair are race-fit having had recent warm-ups on the all-weather.

3:00 William Hill Cammidge

Trophy Stakes (Listed) 6f 2y

Baradar is the best of the bunch in the Cammidge Trophy assuming he is fully effective back sprinting, with the testing ground surely a help in that regard. He has an excellent course record reading 3131 with the defeats in the Futurity and the Lincoln, both times looking the likeliest winner before weakening late.

It seems that he doesn’t quite stay a stiff mile and his two victories last term came over seven furlongs at Ascot and over six and a half furlongs here. The evidence of that most recent success suggests that he will be fully effective over this trip and he should take all the beating with track and ground firmly in his favour.

3:35 William Hill Lincoln

(Heritage Handicap) 1m

In truth, the most appealing runners in the Lincoln are perched at the top of the betting, and it isn’t easy to find a standout bet at the prices, with the likes of Awaal, runner-up last year, and 2022 winner Johan well found in the market, as is recent Irish Lincolnshire winner Chazzesmee.

The first two home last year were the pair at the head of the weights and these heritage handicaps are more and more being dominated by blacktype horses which makes digging around at the foot of the handicap a thankless task.

One lurking on what could still be a lenient mark, however, is Spirit Genie, who Jennie Candlish acquired last term from Jessica Harrington.

Two runs on the all-weather revealed little – he was reported not to be suited to the surface on the second occasion - but he absolutely bolted when dropped into selling company at Leicester (seven furlongs, heavy) in October. He really ought to have followed up in a competitive mile handicap on similar ground at Newmarket on his next start, finishing best of all to be beaten half a length by Dashing Roger having been set too much to do in a race where the winner was always in the van.

Spirit Genie is closely matched with fourth-placed One Night Thunder on that Newmarket effort and is likely to go on again this term when conditions suit. Candlish has her team in good form, and has saddled three winners from just eight runners in March.

Newbury Saturday

2:10 BetVictor Novices’

Handicap Hurdle 2m 2f 183y

Kartoon And Co looked nicely handicapped for his debut in the sphere at Sandown a couple of weeks ago but he couldn’t get to grips with Spiced Rum, who was allowed first run, but it was very pleasing to see the way he finished off for second, looking very much in need of this step up in trip.

What was also most encouraging about that effort was how well he jumped under pressure from the home turn. Sandown on testing ground tends to draw out late errors from inexperienced hurdlers, but Kartoon And Co absolutely pinged the hurdles in the home straight and went into my notebook as one to keep on side.

The son of Balko gets a useful weight-for-age allowance of 12lb here, and as we saw once again at Cheltenham, Dan Skelton has few peers when it comes to targeting races for his handicappers.

A winner on good to soft ground on his hurdles bow at Stratford, he won’t mind if the ground dries out a little, and the form of his second and third starts has been well advertised since, making him look a good bet despite a small rise for finishing second last time.

2:40 Get BOG at BetVictor Handicap Chase 2m 3f 187y

Gustavian could be overpriced here assuming the ground doesn’t dry out any further, but that’s a risky assumption to make, and Anthony Honeyball’s charge was behind Heltenham here last time despite getting the run of things.

The revised weights bring him back into consideration, but I’d prefer to know how the track is riding before parting with any cash.

3:15 British EBF NH Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 4f 118y

Mel Rowley has been in excellent form for the past couple of months, with Malaita’s win at Ludlow on Thursday the eighth for Rowley and husband Phil from 43 runners in 2024. She saddled Blue Beach to be runner-up in this contest last year and now has Marmalade Time for the same group of owners. The daughter of Black Sam Bellamy impressed with her tenacity when winning at Doncaster last time by a length and three-quarters from Betty’s Tiara.

Her jumping has been crabbed and she gets an ominous “x” from Timeform for that performance, denoting a poor jumper, but she didn’t touch any of the obstacles in the Town Moor straight, for all she tended to launch herself left-handed.

I thought she was brave there and while jumping left could lose her some ground here, I think she’s been a bit maligned in that department.

Party Vibes is certainly an accomplished jumper and she rates the obvious danger on the back of a win at Market Rasen over an extended two miles. She will relish the extra yardage and ought to give backers a good run for their money.


Astral Beau 1:20 Doncaster – 1pt win @ 4/1

Thunder Roar 2:25 Doncaster – 1pt e/w @ 17/2 (Hills, 8/1 general – 5 places)

Spirit Genie 3:35 Doncaster – 0.5pts e/w @ 33/1 (Bet365, Paddy Power – 6 places)

Kartoon And Co 2:10 Newbury – 1pt win @ 11/2 (Bet365)

Marmalade Time 3:15 Newbury – 1pt e/w @ 18/1 (Hills, 14/1 general – 5 places