The round course at Doncaster favours closers and it’s possible that Durston was flattered when arriving late to score over the St Leger course and distance last time. Since the start of the 2012 season, horses who made the frame (i.e. finished in the first four) under a patient ride in a Doncaster handicap on their latest start showed a loss of £209.26 to a £1 level stake on their next outing.
Chester is not going to be ideal for his running style and I want to oppose him in the 1m4f Whitley Neil handcraft Handicap (2.40) with pace angle LARIAT. Andrew Balding won this race last year and Lariat’s two previous soft-ground runs have resulted in an Ayr win and a course and distance second when the winner got first run.
In the same race I also want to back FEARLESS WARRIOR despite him only finishing an eight-length third of four at Leicester on his latest outing. The time was very fast and his come-from-behind style was at a disadvantage. His juvenile win came when making all and I’m hoping he’ll revert to more prominent tactics.
Both his wins have come in single-figure line-ups (nine and seven ran) as have his best efforts in defeat, notably last summer’s nose second at Salisbury (nine ran) and his head reverse on heavy ground at Doncaster in 2017 (five ran). Surprisingly, he was backed into 5-1 joint-favouritism in Safe Voyage’s Haydock race in April but, as his often the case, he lost his place in the big field and he finished fifth of 14. He’s run respectably in two more big-field contest since, running sixth of 14 in Class 2 handicaps at Newbury and Epsom, and will appreciate the drop back down to Class 3 level here. He hasn’t raced below Class 2 level since his gelding operation, he’s tactically versatile and his sole course outing saw him finish a close-up 8-1 third behind Petrus (winner since) in a Class 2 handicap in April.
The round course at Goodwood was a closers benefit at the meeting on 24th May and those who raced prominently were at a huge disadvantage in the two-mile handicap won by Age Of Wisdom. Seventh home Atomic Jack, described as ‘with leader’, faded into a 14-1 seventh but won at Lingfield earlier this week and I want to side with the fifth from that race, ARCHIMENTO, who goes in the 1m6f Randox Food Handicap at Sandown today (5.35).
The 25-1 shot ‘chased leaders’ that day, sitting in third place in the early stages and was only just run out of the places, dropping into fifth and finishing just under four lengths behind the winner. He handles cut in the ground and has run well at Sandown before, suggesting that he’s over-priced at around the 16-1 mark.
Lariat – Chester 2.40 (1pt win, 7-2 generally)
Fearless Warrior – 2.40 Chester (0.5pts win, 14-1 generally)
Wahash – Bath 3.30 (1pt win, 11-2 generally)
Archimento – Sandown 5.35 (0.5pts each-way, 18-1 Paddy Power, Betfair, 16-1 Hills and Ladbrokes, all paying four places as things stand)
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