It is very hard to get away to get away from the claims of Pagero, who was much improved to open his account over hurdles at Huntingdon last week, quickening clear in good style after the last. Because that was a conditional event, Pagero is able to race from the same mark here, making him a very attractive proposition, and he shouldn’t be troubled by the drop back to two miles at this galloping track.
Both Blakeney Point and Borodin are a couple of useful recruits from the Flat, but both stayed well in that sphere (particularly the former) and may find this too sharp of a test on their hurdling debuts. Therefore it could be worth chancing the more experienced Baron de Midleton, who shaped as though he’d be better for the run on his Rules debut at Newcastle two weeks ago. He sets the standard of those with experience and, with improvement forthcoming, looks the safest option.
Not for the first time, Sky Pirate shaped as though ahead of his mark when finishing runner-up at Ascot last time, and with that in mind he is worth another chance. Admittedly, he disappointed with his finishing effort on that occasion, but the ground was testing that day, and a blunder two out did him no favours. The return to likely better ground here will see him in a better light, and he can deservedly open his account over fences.
Scarlet Dragon resumed his progress over hurdles to take advantage of a lenient mark (based on his Flat form) when winning a listed handicap at Market Rasen in September, and shaped better than the bare result after nine weeks off at Newbury last time. He travelled into the race comfortably that day, but faltering as if the race was needed after two out. Scarlet Dragon should come on plenty for that, and should have more to offer in this sphere, this course and likely better ground right up his street.
Only three runners set to go to post but it looks an interesting match between Windsor Avenue and Sam Spinner. The former has been foot perfect on both of his starts over fences so far, looking a natural and displaying a big engine when giving weight and a beating to a useful type at Carlisle last time.
There should be much more to come from him, this galloping track sure to suit, and he is a confident selection ahead of Sam Spinner.
Nicky Henderson often sends some of his better horses to Doncaster and Tombee du Ciel could be anything. She only showed fairly useful form in France when trained by Mlle A-S. Pacault, but she represents top connections who clearly think a bit about her to be starting her off in Grade 2 company. She can take advantage of the sex allowance she receives and come out on top.
It could be a good day for Jonjo O’Neill who is represented by Cloth Cap here. He figures on a lenient mark and caught the eye at Ascot last time, travelling well but leaving the impression the run was still needed. He rates the type that has a good handicap in him before long and is worth siding with again.
*Prices & entries correct at time of publishing