Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Friday's Doncaster Cup, and pick out their 1-2-3...
"...chased home Desert Skyline in this race last year and should be spot-on in his bid to go one better this time round..."
Timeform on Thomas Hobson
1. ALGOMETER (David Simcock/Oisin Murphy)
Hasn't won since September 2016, but is still capable of smart form, as he showed when second in 1¾m Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Longchamp (three quarters of a length behind Marmelo) in July. Hasn't raced beyond 1¾m, but shapes as though worth a try at this longer trip, and is one of the leading contenders on form in what looks a modest renewal.
2. JUKEBOX JIVE (Anthony Honeyball/Joe Fanning)
Useful handicapper who won three races last season, including small-field 0-91 contest over 2¼m at Newbury. Failed to add to tally this term, though has run close to best in four of five starts, most notably when third in listed race at Sandown (three lengths behind Nearly Caught) in July. Even best form leaves him with an awful lot to find.
3. LORD YEATS (Jedd O'Keeffe/Graham Lee)
Front-runner who progressed through handicap ranks in 2016/early 2017. More like himself in three starts this season, including when fifth in Group 2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier at Longchamp (five and a half lengths behind Vazirabad) in May. Shaped as if still in good form after three-month absence when mid-field in most recent Ebor (Handicap) at York last time, unsuited by fast conditions, and looks the type to go well in this smaller field back on more suitable ground.
4. MAX DYNAMITE (Willie Mullins, Ireland/Andrea Atzeni)
Won Lonsdale Cup at York in 2015, finishing second in Melbourne Cup on next start, but only added one win since (17f minor event at Killarney last summer). Followed that win with third place back at Flemington and sixth in Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin, but not matched that form in three starts this season, including fourth in Yorkshire Cup at York (six and three quarter lengths behind Stradivarius) in May.
5. RENNETI (Willie Mullins, Ireland/Frankie Dettori)
Won twice in 2017, including 2m Group 3 Loughbrown Stakes at Naas, but has only run to that level once in five starts this season, when second in Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot (one and a half lengths behind Pallasator) in June, easily his best effort of the year. Off just six days, and possibly found race coming too soon, when last of seven to Flag of Honour in Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh last time. One to treat with caution.
6. SAUNTER (Ian Williams/James Doyle)
Won 23-runner November Handicap here final start of 2017, just his second start for new yard, and has produced a series of creditable efforts in combination of handicaps/minor events since. Won at Compiegne (1¾m) in July and 1½m handicap at Newmarket (by one and a half lengths from Huge Future) in August, and off just seven days before creditable seven and a quarter lengths ninth to Muntahaa in Ebor at York last time. Yet to race over this far but appears to have plenty of stamina.
7. SHEIKHZAYEDROAD (David Simcock/Martin Harley)
Long time since last win (2016 Long Distance Cup at Ascot, six weeks after winning this race) but has produced plenty of commendable efforts in elite company since, including a smart performance when third in last year's renewal of this race where he was beaten a length and a half by Desert Skyline. Took a step back in right direction when respectable sixth to Stradivarius in Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last time. Likely to have been saved for this and no surprise to see an improved effort.
8. THOMAS HOBSON (Willie Mullins, Ireland/Ryan Moore)
Carried strong hurdles form over to Royal Ascot last year, winning Ascot Stakes (by six lengths from Endless Acres), before fine second in this race (beaten one and a half lengths by Desert Skyline, conceding 12 lb). Disappointed at most recent Royal Ascot, but respectable two and a half lengths fifth of seven to Flag of Honour dropped back in trip in 1¾m Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh last time, forced wide two furlongs out. Looks a leading contender here with that run under his belt.
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Timeform Doncaster Cup Analyst Verdict
THOMAS HOBSON chased home Desert Skyline in this race last year and should be spot-on in his bid to go one better this time round, having performed with credit over an inadequate trip when returning from a 2-month break at the Curragh recently. Sheikhzayedroad, who was just behind the selection 12 months ago, is feared most, albeit his stablemate Algometer is also accorded respect.
Timeform Doncaster Cup 1-2-3
1. Thomas Hobson