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Blue Bajan on trail of solace and instant revenge at Doncaster races
Blue Bajan, who looked an unlucky loser of the Old Borough Cup at Haydock last Saturday, gets the opportunity to gain compensation at Doncaster tomorrow.
The £40,000 Ladbrokes Mallard Handicap is the target for the North Yorkshire gelding, whose latest effort saw him trapped for room for much of the last two furlongs before eventually finding daylight and finishing fourth to Sir Graham Wade.
His trainer David O’Meara was pretty sure that, granted a clear run, Blue Bajan, above, would have gone close to winning at Haydock.
Tomorrow will largely be round two with Sir Graham Wade lining up again, this time under a 6lb penalty. He still commands respect, given that he also met trouble in running last Saturday.
Blue Bajan, though, is taken to gain his revenge of behalf of Nawton-based O’Meara and his stable jockey Danny Tudhope.
Fire Eyes is napped to win the opening Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes.
Trained by David Brown, the colt was an impressive debut winner at Thirsk and ran a blinder in defeat at York’s Ebor Festival when second to Hoyam in the Roses Stakes. He went for home a long way out that day and was only nailed near the finish.
Fire Eyes is likely to be ridden a little more patiently in what is a step up in class. But he is highly regarded and is napped to come through with flying colours.
The Stobart Doncaster Cup promises to be a fascinating race and marginal preference is for last year’s winner Saddler’s Rock.
John Oxx’s smart stayer failed to do himself justice on his latest outing at York when a combination of a frantic front-running gallop and the rain-softened ground proved his undoing. He had previously won the Goodwood Cup and finished third in the Ascot Gold Cup. Johnny Murtagh, absent on Knavesmire, is back on board.
Paul Hanagan has a good ride in the £70,000 Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes.
He teams up with Reyaadah, a debut winner at Newmarket and a creditable third in the Sweet Solera Stakes on the same course on her second outing, when she failed to enjoy a clear passage and also raced a little freely.
If she can be a little more professional this time, the step up to one mile should suit Reyaadah, who has a fighting chance of turning the tables on Sweet Solera winner Certify.
Also worth noting on Town Moor are Ashdan (3.30) and progressive sprinter Duke Of Firenze (4.05).
At Chester, John Quinn brings Countrywide Flame, his Triumph Hurdle hero from last March’s Cheltenham Festival, back to action in the Hill Dickinson Handicap.
The four-year-old went from strength to strength over hurdles last winter and wound up the season with an excellent runner-up effort at Aintree’s Grand National Festival.
What he is capable of achieving on the Flat is largely of secondary importance, but he was a multiple-winner for Kevin Ryan before switching codes and he is not one to underestimate. It will be great to see him back on a racecourse.
Also on the eight-race card, make a note of the promising Mama Quilla (3.20) and recent winner Cottesmore (5.00), from the Mark Johnston stable.
1.15 Fire Eyes (NAP), 1.50 Blue Bajan, 2.20 Saddler’s Rock, 2.55 Reyaadah, 3.30 Ashdan, 4.05 Duke Of Firenze, 4.35 Dick Doughtywylie.
1.40 Gabrial The Master, 2.10 Jubilee Games, 2.45 Mama Quilla, 3.20 Countrywide Flame, 3.55 Fathsta, 4.25 Cottesmore, 5.00 See Clearly, 5.30 Two Turtle Doves.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Sandown and Wolverhampton.
Today’s meetings: Chepstow, Doncaster, Epsom and Wolverhampton.