Doncaster’s four-day St Leger Festival bonanza gets underway on Wednesday, culminating on Saturday with the final UK classic of the season, and the oldest of them all – the St Leger itself.
Coming just a couple of weeks after York’s Ebor meeting, you might expect a lot of the form lines from York to hold true in the intervening weeks, and to remain consistent into this week’s Doncaster meeting.
However, there are some subtle differences between the two tracks that can make quite a notable mark on how races at the two venues pan out – and most distinctly, the straight track sprints. York’s home straight runs from due south to due north, and so during the summer months, runners can often be accompanied by a stiff summer southerly breeze – which accentuates the notion that it is a front runners track.
Whereas, Doncaster’s home straight runs from north-east to south-west, which can sometimes mean that if there is a notable wind, then it can be into the faces of the horses up that straight. So, it can play out that Doncaster can sometimes benefit those that are ridden for a bit of cover.
Now, you may be thinking, what is he waffling on about…well I am making a case to take on the likely favourite for Wednesday’s Scarbrough Stakes – Dakota Gold – who has exceptional form figures at York, having run there seven times, won on four of those occasions, finishing second on two of them and only being out of the frame once. His Doncaster record however is three runs and three efforts all out of the frame – yes, he was a close fourth in the 2018 Portland Handicap, but his tendency to race keenly on the front hindered him late on there.
The other likely market leader, Moss Gill, loves York also. And while he has a perfect one from one record at Doncaster, that came at odds of 1/4 in a low-grade novice event.
Without a doubt, the two to back each-way against the market leaders in the Scarbrough Stakes at 2.10 on Wednesday are: Makanah at 17/2 and Tarboosh at 14/1, both with Paddy Power.
Back Makanah in the Bet365 Scarbrough Stakes on Wednesday with Paddy Power!
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Followers of this column will remember Makanah doing us a favour early on in the season, when winning at Newmarket, and he can do so again upped in class. Competitive off a revised mark in two handicaps after Newmarket, he then ran a massive race behind Dakota Gold at Beverley in the Listed Beverley Bullet two weekends ago, when the stiff finish and soft ground would have been against him. The flatter track and better ground will allow Makanah to certainly go very close to bridging that 2¾ length deficit.
Makanah has had two runs at Doncaster – one win, and huge run when only beaten 2 lengths in last season’s Portland Handicap, when drawn completely away from the action.
Tarboosh also ran behind Dakota Gold at Beverley, but having been kept more towards the middle to far side of the track that day, his run was worth marking up on account of the softest ground always being on that section of the track, when there is plenty of give in it.
Tarboosh’s Doncaster record also bares the closest inspection – a win and a close second to the fast El Astronaute on the other start. When allied to the fact that he has been better than the bare form on both of his last two starts, he can finally a land a deserved Listed success, with the race set to be run to suit.
Back Tarboosh in the Bet365 Scarbrough Stakes on Wednesday with Paddy Power!
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