Saturday 30th January, 3.15pm, Doncaster
There’s a cracking card from Doncaster tomorrow and the feature race is the Sky Bet Chase, which is a Listed contest held over three miles. 15 runners will head to post in this extremely competitive encounter.
Paul Nicholls has the favourite in this one with Le Mercurey, who is a 6/1 shot and was a decent third on heavy ground at Cheltenham last time out.
This horse should enjoy the step up in trip and his win over Thomas Brown two starts ago reads well with that horse winning well at the track on Friday afternoon.
Le Mercurey could still be quite well handicapped off this chase mark of 142 and this is his first time in a handicap over the larger obstacles. More is expected from the six-year-old and he could go well.
The top weight here is Holywell for Jonjo O’Neill and Will Kennedy. This horse was third in the Gold Cup back in March and then third in a Grade One at Aintree in the spring.
His two performances this season haven’t quite been up to scratch though as he was fifth and then fourth in two small field races. They were full of quality, but you’d have maybe wanted to see a little more from the nine-year-old.
It might be tough to give weight all round here and the horse does seem to come to his peak at Cheltenham in the spring. 8/1 could be a little short.
The frustrating – but no doubt talented – Buywise is another 8/1 shot and this nine-year-old does deserve a big race success.
He seems to do all of his best form late on and was second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November. He then followed that up with a fourth at the same course last month.
He hasn’t won over fences since April 2014 and might only have place claims here.
Ziga Boy can be backed at 8/1 too and was a course and distance winner last time out, beating Godsmejudge impressively on December 29th.
He is up 15 pounds for that success, but that does seem to be fair and Alan King has been in good form in these big handicaps this season.
It’s a step up in class for the horse, but he could still have more to show us and is off a low weight here.
Dolatulo is at 12/1 for Warren Greatrex, with veteran Aachen at 14/1 for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch, who have teamed up well in handicaps. However, the mark of 151 might be a little bit high for this horse.
You can get the likes of Gullinbursti, Double Ross and Le Reve all at 14/1 and it is then 16/1 an over about the rest of the field.
We like two in the field here and think both LE MERCUREY and ZIGA BOY could both go well.