Horse Racing: Doncaster Cup Preview

Luca CumaniThe 250th Doncaster Cup, run over the marathon trip of 2m2f, is the third and final leg of the Stayers’ Triple Crown (3.40pm Friday).

Mizzou (9/4) was no match for impressive winner Order Of St George in the Gold Cup, over 2m4f at Ascot in June, but he finished ahead of Sheikhzayedroad (10/1), Burmese (16/1) and Clever Cookie (6/1). He promises to be a tough nut to crack once again and this race represents a drop in class from Group 1 to Group 2 level.

This five-year-old, trained by Luca Cumani (pictured), returns from a near three-month break, but had previously won the 2m Sagaro Stakes at Ascot on his seasonal reappearance for the second year running. In addition he is saddled by a trainer who does not over-race his inmates. So Mizzou’s absence is less of a worry for this big-race preview than might otherwise have been the case.

Clondaw Warrior (9/2) stayed on well to finish second, beaten three-quarters of a length, behind Pallasator in this race last year. He finished a creditable second in the American St. Leger over 1m5½f at Arlington Park on the other side of the pond last month.

This Overbury gelding is blessed with an abundance of stamina, as he demonstrated when winning the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f  last summer. However Clondaw Warrior has never won a Listed or Pattern race on the Flat and may prove vulnerable at this Group 2 level.

Quest For More (5/1) returned to form when making all to beat Pallasator by 3½ lengths in the Lonsdale Cup at York three weeks ago, with Clever Cookie a further 4½ lengths behind in fifth place. He largely has his stamina to prove beyond two miles and connections will be hoping that the rain stays away, because he has done all his winning on good or faster ground.

Curbyourenthusiasm (16/1) was never a factor when last of seven, beaten 29 lengths, in the Lonsdale Cup and is impossible to fancy on that form, while Burmese (16/1) has 7½ lengths to find with Mizzou on their running in the Ascot Gold Cup and is just 2lb better off.

St. Michel (16/1) and Sweet Selection (33/1) have both enjoyed successful seasons, but surely have too much to find on official figures to be seriously considered for win purposes.

We would never completely write off trainer Peter Niven’s admirable Clever Cookie, who despite being held on a strict interpretation of his most recent form at York and Ascot, does have pieces in the book that would put him right in the hunt for this prize.

However Mizzou, although the favourite for this historic 250th Doncaster Cup, could still represent some value at the odds on offer. He has won on good to firm, good, good to soft and soft going. While he is yet to win beyond 2m, the way in which he stayed on for clear second in the Gold Cup at Ascot suggested he has no stamina doubts over an extra quarter of a mile. We anticipate he can win.

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