Indigo Girl, a full-sister to the Group One-winning Journey, is the new second-favourite for next year’s 1,000 Guineas after an ultimately convincing success in the Group Two May Hill Stakes on the second day of Doncaster’s Leger Festival on Thursday.
John Gosden’s filly was slowly away from the stalls but made swift progress through the field heading into the final three furlongs and went on to beat Dubai Fountain by three-quarters of a length with Zabeel Queen, the favourite, back in third.
“Her mother won a Prix Royal-Oak [over nearly two miles],” Gosden said, ”and her sister won the Fillies & Mares at Ascot over a mile-and-a-half, but funnily enough, I see this one as more a mile to mile-and-a-quarter filly. She travels strongly and has a great turn of foot.”
Stradivarius outclassed his field to win last year’s Doncaster Cup at odds of 1-9, and while there is no runner even remotely up to that standard in this year’s renewal on Friday, it does at least make for a competitive race with six of the seven runners going to post with a chance on their best form.
Revolver is a typical improver over a trip from the Sir Mark Prescott yard, having started the season in June off 57. He has won six races already and his mark is up 34lb, but the step up to Group Two company brings him up against a different calibre of opponent and Andrew Balding’s Spanish Mission (3.15), a Listed winner last time out, could be the one to end his winning streak.
Doncaster 1.40 Alfaatik had not seen a track for 15 months – and had also been gelded in the meantime – when he lined up for a competitive handicap at York’s Ebor meeting, which makes his success there all the more impressive. This step up in trip could bring more improvement.
Doncaster 2.10 The most competitive event on the card, with a long list of in-form sprinters in opposition. Ghalyoon has obvious scope for improvement after four starts and did well to finish second returning from a 13-month break last time. There is not much wriggle-room in a price of around 11-4, however, and Chiefofchiefs, a close fourth in the International at Ascot last time, makes more appeal at around 10-1.
Doncaster 2.40 The Doncaster Cup might lack a little quality this year but this is an excellent renewal of the Flying Childers, including several runners that contested Group One events last time. Sacred has yet to race at the top level, but arguably achieved as much in her narrow defeat in the Lowther last time as any of her opponents here and the drop back to five furlongs should suit.
Doncaster 3.45 One Ruler stopped the clock in a very impressive time for a maiden winner at Sandown last time. He steps up to Listed company against rivals with form at Group Three level, but should be up to the task.
Greg Wood’s Friday tips
Sandown 12.50 Significantly 1.25 Newyorkstateofmind 2.00 Maximal 2.30 Dubai Mirage 3.05 Typhoon Ten 3.35 Lalania 4.05 Dubai Welcome
Doncaster 1.10 Almareekh 1.40 Alfaatik 2.10 Chiefofchiefs (nap) 2.40 Sacred (nb) 3.15 Spanish Mission 3.45 One Ruler 4.15 Muay Thai
Chester 2.20 Keep Right On 2.55 Blowing Wind 3.30 Rosa Gold 4.00 Buhturi 4.35 Montanari 5.10 Gabrials Boy 5.40 Wightman
Salisbury 3.25 Us Cliff 3.55 In The Breeze 4.30 Arsonist 5.00 Flirty Rascal 5.30 Molly Shaw 6.05 Second Slip 6.35 Rock Eagle 7.05 General Zoff