For this week’s Saturday weekender we head to Doncaster for the opening meeting of the 2015 Flat Season.
The first selection runs in the extended One mile, Two furlong maiden due off at 16:20.
Captain Navarre is the pick here, running second last time out in a Conditions event to the Richard Hannon trained Crafty Choice last October. The drop back to maiden class should give the Lydia Pearce trained gelding every chance of winning if able to repeat that effort and with the assistance of Simon Pearce, a very capable claimer, taking off a further 3lb he should certainly be thereabouts in the latter stages.
Dominada is another who tries to gain a first win back in maiden events after being thought good enough to run at a higher level. When last seen in September dropped back to this level after running respectably on a Group 3 the time before that, he was sent off the even money favourite but could only finish 5 lengths off the winner to be second that day. With that run slightly disappointing with Dominada having to be urged along some way out the vote is given to Captain Navarre.
King of Normandy looks to be the one they all have to beat here if adapting to the extra distance after a cracking effort in Group 3 Company last time. He was heavily backed that day and certainly should have the ability to win at this level sooner rather than later.
Captain Navarre (E/W)
Next up we have the 16:50.The first division of an extended One Mile, Two Furlong Apprentice Handicap.
The Lock Master takes the eye here, Running off a very tempting mark of just 67 he has been given a real chance running here of a 15lb lower rating than when last seen on turf. He is known as an All Weather veteran these days and although winless for over 12 months he wasn’t disgraces completely in much better races than todays contest. He has one of last year’s top apprentices on board, and with a very shrewd trainer can progress even at the ripe old age of 8.
Nouvelle Ere acquitted himself well over the winter and has been in excellent form on the all-weather in 2015. The combination of the Hood and tongue- tie look to have unlocked some improvement and under a very good jockey in George Downing should not be readily discounted.
Music Hall is a massive unknown factor here, He has only had the one run since joining Shaun Harris from top French trainer John Hammond in February and any market support should be noted.
The Lock Master (WIN)
The Final selection runs in the second division of the apprentice handicap in the last race of Doncaster’s card
Raging Bear is the pick here, ridden by Charlotte Jenner and trained by James Evans. Bought from Richard Hannon’s Stable in late 2013 the 5 year old gelding has been slowly dropping down the weights and comes here on the back of a disappointing fourth last time, although not beaten far that day Raging Bear looked to have lost all chance at the start, finishing as close as he did gives hope that if the switch from visor back to blinkers, of which he wore on one of his two career victories, can help bring about any improvement then an each way finish should be on the cards at the very least. Charlotte Jenner is a capable apprentice and claims a very valuable 3lbs against her peers here.
Walk Like a Giant heads the betting here but doesn’t look to me to be guaranteed to give his running here, as on several occasions during the winter did run below what was expected, it could be that the switch to turf for the first time since June could see a much improved performance but at the forecast odds I would prefer to look elsewhere.
Frontline phantom could return to action after a winter break with a victory here, He can go well fresh, and is a multiple winner at the track. Any market support would be noteworthy and should at least make the frame here.
Raging Bear (E/W)