Horses To Follow » Doncaster Rover

Doncaster Rover

Doncaster Rover put up another good performance, his third in as many runs this term, to finish second to Main Aim in the John O Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs at Haydock on Saturday. The worry about Derek Brown’s gelding beforehand was whether or not he would have the stamina for this trip. It was only his second time to step beyond six furlongs in his life, and his first since he finished well down the field in the Listed Spring Cup at Lingfield at the beginning of last season.

As it turned out, he stayed the trip well. Indeed, he was off the bridle early enough, which was surprising for a six-furlong horse, much earlier than Main Aim or Lord Shanakill, and he battled all the way to the line to go down by just a three parts of a length. Main Aim seemed to be leaning into him a little inside the final 100 yards, and Doncaster Rover seemed to hang to his right a bit, and Robert Winston seemed to get a little unbalanced inside the final 50 yards. None of this made a material difference to the result, but it didn’t help. Even so, it looks like Doncaster Rover improved for the step up to seven furlongs. He is progressive anyway, he put up a career best when he kept on well on the unfavoured stands side to finish fourth behind Prime Defender, Showcasing and Main Aim, beaten just three parts of a length in total, in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes at York last month.

That race was over six furlongs, and he shaped as though he would appreciate a step up to seven. He proved as much on Saturday, bettering his Duke of York run, according to Racing Post Ratings. He handled the easy ground well, but he is a winner on fast ground as well. He is at least up to Group 3 standard, possibly Group 2, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next, especially if he competes over seven furlongs. He is not a fashionable horse and he should continue to be under-rated.

29th May 2010