The 2017 Doncaster Mile field has been released and it may be the most exciting betting race of the entire Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
A capacity field will contest the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday and doing the form for this race has been an absolutely fascinating exercise.
We have analysed all 20 horses as well as the three emergencies in the 2017 Doncaster Mile field and you can find our thoughts on each runner below.
Hauraki won the Epsom Handicap over this track and distance in the Spring and will carry the top weight (57kg) in the Doncaster Mile. He has raced well without being overly impressive this campaign and it should be noted that Le Romain beat him home comfortably in both the Canterbury Stakes and the George Ryder Stakes. He looks under the odds at his current price.
Le Romain has developed into one of the most consistent horses in the country and he goes into the Doncaster Mile with every possible chance of recording another Group 1 victory. He beat Chautauqua to win the Canterbury Stakes and he beat all his rivals bar the peerless Winx in the George Ryder Stakes. The big weight is not an issue for Le Romain and he goes into the Doncaster Mile as a deserving favourite.
Palentino returned to his best form with an impressive win the Blamey Stakes, but there are a couple of question marks hanging over him heading into the Doncaster Mile. All of his best performances have come at Flemington and in his only run in Sydney he clearly struggled. He is a talented horse, but I am happy to take him on.
Tosen Stardom looked set for a big campaign when he finished a very close second behind Black Heart Bart in the Futurity Stakes, but he failed to fire in the Blamey Stakes. It is tough to back him in the Doncaster Mile on the back of that effort.
Happy Clapper was excellent in the Doncaster Mile last year and he goes into the 2017 edition of the race on the back of a strong performance in the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap. He was good in that race, but this is a genuine step-up in class and he is another that looks a touch of unders at his current price.
It’s Somewhat is a very consistent horse and he returned to the races with a good win in the Ajax Stakes. He is a horse that rates at a very similar level each time that he is seen at the races and he is capable of winning a Group 1, but he does not have the same amount of upside as some of other horses in this field.
Ecuador has been freshened up since he finished eighth in the Australian Cup. He has been racing very well this preparation and he is capable of finishing in the top five, but I don’t think this is his race.
Arod is one of a number of roughies in this race that are worth a small bet at their current odds. Arod failed to fire in the Ajax Stakes, but he has since trialed in impressive fashion at Warwick Farm and on his best form he is the horse that is weighted to win this race. He is a much better chance than his current quote of $51.
Dibayani is another roughie that I am keen to have something on. He is yet to win in Australia, but he has produced his best form in these big field handicaps. He was only narrowly denied in the Epsom Handicap and he went very close again in the Villiers Stakes. Damien Oliver could be what he needs to finally win a race in Australia.
Redkirk Warrior is the most interesting horse in the Doncaster Mile field. He returned to the races with a most impressive victory in the Newmarket Handicap and the Lindsay Park team is of the opinion that he will be an even better horse over 1600 metres. His Hong Kong form suggests just that and if he is able to replicate his first-up run he will be very tough to beat. Horses generally don’t win both the Newmarket Handicap and the Doncaster Mile, but no horse had won the Newmarket Handicap first-up for 100 years before he did it. He is excellent value at his current price.
McCreery was excellent first-up in the Livepool City Cup, but he took a step backwards in the George Ryder Stakes. There is no doubt that he is better suited under these conditions and on a drier track, but he still needs to find several lengths to turn-the-tables on Le Romain and I can’t get him as short as his current quote.
Endless Drama looked like the Doncaster Mile winner when he chased home Winx and Hartnell in the Apollo Stakes, but he took a big step backwards in the Chipping Norton Stakes. He has since won a barrier trial in impressive fashion and this has always been his goal, but it is tough to go into a Doncaster Mile without a run for a month.
Sense Of Occasion
Sense Of Occasion earnt his place in the Doncaster with a win in the Villiers Stakes and he will go into this race first-up. He has never given any indication that he is capable of winning a race of this quality, but I would have said that before the Villiers Stakes.
I Am A Star
I Am A Star is a star filly and she was excellent in the Sunline Stakes last weekend. Barrier one is far from ideal and she will need plenty of luck, so I can’t have her in this race but she could prove hard to beat in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
Hey Doc has gone to another level during the 2017 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and he recorded impressive wins in both the CS Hayes Stakes and the Australian Guineas. He showed that he is capable of running a strong mile in the Australian Guineas, but this will be a tougher test as there should be more early speed. The speed map does not look great and he has probably found his right price.
Antonio Giuseppe drops back to 1600 metres after he finished fourth over 2000 metres in the Ranvet Stakes. Chris Waller has used this method with plenty of success in the past, but I’m not sure that Antonio Giuseppe is as good as the likes of Sacred Falls. I can’t have him in this race.
Sons Of John
Sons Of John was fairly poor in the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap and it is impossible to back him in this race off that effort.
Testashadow is racing in career best form and was good in the Ajax Stakes, but this race is beyond him.
Spectroscope has all the upside in the world and he is another horse that I am keen to back in the Doncaster Mile. This is easily his toughest test since arriving in Australia, but he has scored effortless win in his two race starts to date and he has the benefit of Joao Moreira in the saddle. He is the horse that is weighted to win this race and I am surprised that he is still available at double-figure odds.
Euro Angel is not up to a race of this quality.
New Tipperary is the first emergency in the 2017 Doncaster Mile field and he requires a scratching to earn a start. He has been racing well this preparation, but still needs to find plenty of improvement to win this race.
No Doubt is the second emergency in the 2017 Doncaster Mile and requires a pair of scratchings to earn a start.
Top Of My List
Top Of My List is the third emergency in the 2017 Doncaster Mile.