Sky Sports Racing’s Gina Bryce has the lowdown on the Day One feature at Doncaster and a big race selection!
CHING SHIH – Jockey: Jim Crowley | D M Simcock
The beautifully-bred Ching Shih out of Group 1 winner Madame Chiang proved her liking for a step up to this trip in the Geoffrey Freer last time when running on to finish under two lengths behind leading St Leger candidate Arrest giving him 3lb.
Whilst she may have been flattered by her finishing position having sat out of the heat of the race to run on late, there is no doubting that the extended trip and forecast rain will play into her hands and a literal reading of that form puts her at the top of the pile.
DIVINE JEWEL – B A Curtis | R Varian
A half-sister to last week’s Moyglare winner Fallen Angel out of the smart May Hill-winning juvenile Agnes Stewart, Divine Jewel has inherited plenty of stamina from her sire Frankel and is a strong stayer at this trip.
She took a big step forward from the handicapping ranks last year to be placed in Black Type races on four occasions but a plateau in her form means she will need things to drop right to supplement her sole career win.
GOLDEN LYRA – Tom Marquand | W J Haggas
A relatively unexposed four-year-old who has enjoyed a light campaign this year, she advertised her need for a step up in trip by putting up a career best over the extended mile and a half in heavy ground at Deauville last time posting the fastest finishing three furlongs behind the winner, Melo Melo, who came within a short head of winning the Prix Vermeille last weekend.
Her pedigree is peppered with German Oaks and Derby winners in addition to Group 1 winner Sea The Moon and her profile suggests she is building towards a peak performance that would be more than good enough to win this.
NIGHT SPARKLE – Oisin Murphy | A M Balding
Progressive handicapper with a hat-trick of wins over this trip for Michael O’Callaghan following a maiden hurdle win at Punchestown in May, Night Sparkle is a likeable stayer who is clearly on the up. He makes her debut for Andrew Blading on Thursday and faces a stiff task on her first step up to Pattern company with the prospect of competition for the lead presenting another challenge.
ONE EVENING – W Buick | J & T Gosden
A lightly-raced filly who has strung together two likeable performances over 12f on Good to firm ground at Listed level the last twice and lines up for a trainer who has dominated this race in recent years.
A step up to this trip at York in May didn’t offer conclusive evidence this will play into her hands but she is stronger and more experienced now although the prospect of forecast rain and a strong test at the trip might challenge her.
SUMO SAM – Rossa Ryan | P & O Cole
Sumo Sam relished the slog over this trip on heavy ground to put up a career best in the Lillie Langtry last time and whilst it’s easy to take a dim view of the result in light of her getting her own way up front on unusually attritional ground, it is possible there is more to come from this three-year-old.
She will likely face different conditions on Thursday and competition for the lead however which tempers enthusiasm for her backing up such a dominant performance until faced with similarly exceptional circumstances perhaps deeper into the autumn.
BOOGIE WOOGIE – R L Moore | A P O’Brien
A close run behind Oaks winner Savethelastdance in April resulted in Boogie Woogie being pitched into hot company including when outclassed in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary.
Her sights have been lowered since and a step up in trip is on the agenda on Thursday. It is dangerous to dismiss anything representing these connections for all she has to shrug off a poor run back from a break last time at Cork.
CRACK OF LIGHT – Cieren Fallon | W J Haggas
One of two in the field for William Haggas alongside Golden Lyra, Crack Of Light fared well over an inadequate 10 furlongs behind subsequent dual G1 winner Warm Heart at Newbury in May and has continued to build on that form over a mile and a half since.
She’s been unable to put her two most recent starts at this level to bed but there have been valid excuses. A more even gallop than she encountered last time will suit but there is a suspicion the extended one mile and six furlongs may just stretch this daughter of Kingman to her limits.
LMAY – K Shoemark | J & T Gosden
John and Thady Gosden’s second runner in the field has proved hard to restrain in recent starts and she will need to settle better if she is to see out this step up in trip. With her form seemingly reaching a plateau in the face of too much exuberance, she is also likely to face softer conditions on Thursday for the first time and improvement will be needed to figure here.
SHAMWARI – S Levey I J P O’Brien
Joseph O’Brien won this race with Pista in 2020, a similarly lightly raced, US-bred three-year-old to this year’s contender Shamwari. With just five starts under her belt so far, there are reasons to believe this Dundalk maiden winner can improve although she will need to apply herself better in first-time cheekpieces.
There was a lot to like about her finishing effort behind Crack of Light in Group 3 company at Deauville last time despite her finishing position but a lot less to like about the way she started the race. A step up in trip looks sure to suit and if the cheekpieces can sharpen her up, she could outrun her odds at a price.
GINA BRYCE’S VERDICT
A field of closely matched fillies littered with the potential for improvement over this trip make this a difficult race to assess but GOLDEN LYRA looks to have plenty of ticks in the boxes and can give her trainer William Haggas a first win in this race to kick off what could be a history-making week for the team.
Plenty of rain on Town Moor would also favour Ching Shih and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her build further on her career best last time.