With Huntingdon subject to an inspection at the time of writing, Tony McFadden concentrates on Doncaster's card for today's attempt at the Placepot...
13:20- We are presented with an extremely tricky opening leg in the shape of a fifteen-runner conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle, and it may be necessary to throw a few darts if we are to progress. Samtheman is the first horse that catches the eye, making his first start for the Fergal O'Brien yard. He needs to step up on what he has shown so far over hurdles, but this isn't a strong contest and the change of stable makes him of interest. Goat Castle is a long-standing maiden and that is unlikely to change here, but he does often finish in the frame and a placed effort would be good enough for our purposes. We will also include Coverholder on his first start for Sue Smith. Unable to justify market support on his handicap debut, Coverholder made amends at Catterick last time and should go well again.
13:55- Despite concerns about the shorter trip, African Gold is our sole selection in the second leg. He boasts solid handicap form and if he can run to the same level as he did when winning at Newbury last time he will surely be hard to knock out of the places.
14:30-Wings of Smoke had little chance against Simonsig at Kempton, but he returns to a more realistic level here and his strong-travelling style should be seen to good effect. Tahiti Pearl will need to improve again if he is to defy his latest rise in the weights, but his sound jumping and good attitude are traits valued for Placepot purposes and he makes the perm.
15:05- The return to hurdles should suit Greenlaw, following a respectable effort when finishing fourth in a jumpers' bumper. He had shown improved form in his two hurdles starts for Charlie Longsdon and still looks fairly treated. Powerful Ambition produced an improved performance when chasing one home from the in-form Venetia Williams yard at Musselburgh and the fact he regularly finishes in the frame is another positive.
15:35- Relax shaped well when chasing home the progressive Pete The Feat at Newbury last time and with his yard in cracking form he is well worth including. This is fairly competitive, though, so we will also take a chance on Off The Ground. Progressive as a hurdler, Off The Ground ran encouragingly on his chasing debut and remains open to further progress in this sphere, his latest effort worth forgiving.
16:05- It is difficult to look beyond Pine Creek based on his comfortable success last time, winning with plenty more in hand than the winning margin would suggest. John Ferguson's charge is well clear of his rivals based on Timeform ratings and can hopefully wrap up the Placepot in style.
13:20- 6, 9, 10
14:30- 3, 7
15:05- 7, 10
15:35- 1, 3
= 24 lines
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