Turf Talk: Camelot aims for Doncaster classic

Tim Boulter
Tim Boulter

WE finally get to the day Camelot bids to enter the hall of fame as a triple crown winner.

It is 42 years on since Nijinsky managed the feat under Lestor Piggott and how fitting it should be that Aidan O`Brien will be aiming to emulate his father Vincent who was the last man to achieve the British triple crown. Of course he is also going for a record of his own as he attempts to become the first trainer to win all five classics in a season, a remarkable feat should it be achieved but remarkable to have the chance also. I for one hope he can achieve success as it will be a great moment for racing in the UK and Ireland.

With the Irish St Leger also happening and the return of Dawn Approach in the National Stakes as well as an action packed Doncaster card it looks a brilliant Saturday of racing. Sole Power managed to dig me out of a tipping hole on Wednesday so hopefully the turn around in fortunes will continue.

2.10 Chester

Roninski has taken some time to get back to winning ways but he is a horse that has always shown plenty of promise and shaped as a progressive horse. At Redcar last time out I thought he won with a bit more in hand than the bare result, It was almost like he had to be taught to win again. He no doubt went through the race like the best horse making good headway from off the pace he moved well through out, but when upsides the leaders outside of the field into the final two he did not seem to do a lot with so much day light ahead of him and had his ears pricked barely going on past the field. Close home he eventually finished strongly and put just over a length on his last challenger to win well in the end. He is still only a four year old and relatively unexposed and with the progressive profile he has shown in the passed I think he can still improve on his performances yet.

2.25 Champagne Stakes

I went against Dundonnell last time out in the Acomb Stakes and it would prove the wrong decision. He was a very taking winner that day of what looks a fair Acomb Stakes. There was a good pace set up front by Afonso De Sousa and he just tanked along off the pace in rear until making headway on the bridle to lead heading into the final furlong. He did not go on as much as I expected when he hit the front but he shifted left and right when he come under pressure to go on and I would just put it down to still being a bit inexperienced, he was in no danger of being passed and only seemed to be doing enough. The second home Steeler has already come out and backed the form up winning a listed race next time out and his run away maiden success has had some support also. There is definitely more to come yet and this improving colt looks to have a big chance.

3.00 Portland Stakes

A horse that has probably been an enigma to many this season, including me, would undoubtedly be Mass Rally. You have got to be careful not to tar him with the unlucky brush too often as he seems to find away of not winning often enough but on his latest outing I definitely think he was an unlucky loser. Unlike when he ran at Ascot over five furlongs for the first time at York last time out he was outpaced and hard at it from an early stage just able to keep tabs on the field in rear. By half way though he was starting to make headway but had a wall of horses to get out from behind in the final two to get a run and with only one and half furlongs still found himself with most of the field to pass. He got a run switched outside to the stands rail and finished like a bullet but Tax Free who had enjoyed a clear run on the pace out in the centre of the track had too much on him and he could never pull him back but reduced the margin to just a neck. I think he would have got to Tax Free last had he got a better run and on this occasion I think the extra distance of this handicap will play right into his strengths. He races without the headgear for the first time in a long time which is interesting as he has never actually won with any on other than a tongue tie. He can get called all sorts of names but for me he does find for pressure and he is capable of winning a good handicap but he will need things to go right for him as he will no doubt have to cut a way through horses to stand a chance of winning.

4.15 Park Stakes

A regular in this column it seems of late is Strong Suit and he will be making another appearance again. I was disappointed that he was not at least in the frame in the Sprint Cup but I am happy to put that disappointment aside as he steps back up to seven furlongs for this contest. I did not expect him to make the running in the Sprint Cup that is for sure and in the end it looked to contribute to his downfall. The group of three that set up the pace all dropped out tamely and it just seemed to be well set up for the closers, unexpectedly also they jumped over to the far side rail where they usually pile up the centre. The times on the inner course had been riding far slower than the straight track all day and though the time was fast enough to suggest good to firm it is hard to trust going descriptions at Haydock. It might have been riding a bit tacky in the last half, the front two home both have a liking for easy ground and even Bated Breath having been close enough with a chance in the final stages could not close his race out well and was not even able get to a length of Gordon Lord Byron. I could just be peddling out excuses left right and centre but Strong Suit is a classy colt and he is worth another chance. A return to seven furlongs here and reverting back to usual tactics should see him run a lot better, he was unlucky to lose in the Hungerford and return to that form just two runs ago will make him tough to beat.


2.10 – Roninski

2.25 – Dundonnell (nap)

3.00 – Mass Rally (ew)

4.15 – Strong Suit (nb)