Sky Sports Racing Race of the Day: John Gosden’s colt Knight Of Honor offers round-trip value at Doncaster Handicap | racing news

Alan Thomson picked out an 11/1 winner at Windsor earlier this week and returns with a look at Friday’s best betting race, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Sky Sports Racing cameras are in Doncaster on Friday for an eight race card and the Vertem’s Very Different Stockbrokers Handicap (4.38), a one-mile, two-furlong Class Three contest featuring nine three-year-olds is nominated for today’s bid.


Doncaster, with almost two miles in all directions, is one of the most galloping tracks in the country and the left-handed circuit has a course of more than four furlongs. The official going Thursday morning was described as good to mild, good in places and some heavy rain is forecast.

Richard Hannon is the best trainer this season, saddling 10 winners from 42 runners, while Andrew Balding 6-24, William Haggas 5-18 and Charlie Appleby 5-18 boast a healthy strike rate.

Jockeys Daniel Muscutt, William Buick and Rossa Ryan share top honors with seven winners each, one ahead of Danny Tudhope. They are all in action on Town Moor.

So how is today’s featured race likely to play out?

Mark Johnston’s horses are often ridden from the front and forceful tactics have been used the last two times at Dubai Leader. However, his colt is unlikely to get away with it, as Lizzie Jean did her best to score at Kempton in early June and First Officer was positively ridden when he sped up at Nottingham. Also, Polyphonic was never in the lead when he won by eight lengths at Carlisle in August, so early pace shouldn’t be lacking.


gentleman of honor

John Gosden and Rab Havlin have enjoyed a long and fruitful association and collaborate here at top weight. Knight Of Honor’s efforts this season have been somewhat lackluster and it’s no surprise to see cheeks applied after his last sixth to the helpful Surrey Mist at Windsor 18 days ago. He didn’t join the only hit of his at Goodwood last June, but this is a bit easier than recent assignments.

First official

William Buick is a notable Jane-Chapple-Hyam reserve for her colt, a potential fast improver. The first mate won at Salisbury for Roger Varian last summer and steeled himself for his new manager when he gained more than a six-length lead at Nottingham 16 days ago. An 8-pound gain demands more, but you might be up to the task.

William Buick
Champion jockey William Buick is booked to ride Jane Chapple-Hyam’s first mate


Ivan Furtado’s filly Nathaniel is bred to handle mild conditions, but her career had been restricted to all weather prior to an overly ambitious tilt at St Leger. Lizzie Jean’s previous victories at Kempton and Southwell turned heads, but she shot up 10 pounds thanks to that latest wide-margin success.

Dubai Leader

The least exposed running back in the lineup with just three career starts. He confirmed the promise of his fifth Post Impressionist debut at Ayr in April when he pulled out all the stops to secure a rookie place at Windsor in early May. Disappointed with Lingfield’s return from a 134-day absence (he was wearing a hood which is now discarded), but he’s probably better able to move into the disabled company now.


Tim Easterby’s gelding repelled the pretty solid guys Reach and Broadspear in playstyle at Beverley and is closely paired with Knight Of Honor in a collateral form lane through Broadspear. Frankendael failed to accelerate with heavy favorite Nigwa in a Ripon maiden in late August and the winner cut much of the race before capitulating a furlong into a rather hot deficit at Newmarket on Wednesday.


not spoken

He represents the powerful combination of Ralph Beckett and Rossa Ryan and seemed to get stuck in the mud at Haydock last time out when he was seventh on pace from the impressive William Haggas-trained winner Al Mubhir. Unspoken won a fairly modest affair at Chester last season, beating The Dunkirk Lads, and were fairly well backed at Haydock, suggesting better was expected.


He erased his notebook with a meek effort at Ayr’s western meeting when he was weak in the market, but that was a rare flop. Karl Burke’s gelding ran out a wide winning margin at Carlisle in early June and lost on a photo to Mark Johnston’s Love Is Golden under penalty a week later at Haydock.

tuxedo crossover

Daniel Muscutt takes advantage of James Fanshawe’s colt, at Kempton 23 days ago. He had previously gotten the odds at Ffos Las, but not without leaving his sponsors sweating heavily with a professional performance. The form has worked a little better than it seemed at first, so no hope is lost. Soft ground would not be a problem.

rich king

She finished a fourth well beaten by Lizzie Jean at Southwell and has a bit on her plate to turn that line of shape on her head. On a more positive note, Ed Bethell has signed Andrea Atzeni.


With a few confirmed favorites facing off, a fascinating tactical issue is at stake.

GENTLEMAN OF HONOR has a bit to prove, but John Gosden has lowered his eyes here. Knight Of Honor arguably didn’t make it home for the extended one-mile, three-furlong journey from Windsor last time out and well-backed winner Surrey Mist moved ahead by four lengths in a Listed contest at Deauville on Wednesday.

With so much potential pace in the race, Rabbi Havlin will probably try to play his cards late. My pick seems to get off one price each way if that’s how you like to bet on these tight handicaps.

It never seemed likely that the first mate would be checked on a soft surface at Nottingham on her first outing for Jane Chapple-Hyam and there may be more left in the locker. The form of that race looks solid, with the Ascending beaten runner-up who won at Goodwood (soft) in June. Frankandael, a son of Camelot, handles muddy terrain and that could count for a lot if the rain has come before postseason time.

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