With the Flat championships already settled and the jump season increasingly impinging on the consciousness, the games at Doncaster's end-of-term party this afternoon come into the consolation category. The major prize-winners are absent, though a fifth trainers' championship may right now be small cheer for Michael Stoute. Ironically, the enforced removal of Singspiel from tonight's Breeders' Cup Turf gives Kieren Fallon the opportunity of celebrating his first jockeys' title in style on Borgia.
Many of today's human participants will have tickets for sunnier climes already packed. It's a different matter for the horses, particularly one of the November Handicap favourites, Heritage (3.30). Jumping lessons have already been booked for the three-year-old, who was sold two weeks ago for 120,000gns to join Sue Bramall in Ireland as a hurdler. His new owner let him remain with John Gosden for his last fling on the Flat, out of consideration to those who had backed him and to try to get back part of his purchase price.
The son of Danehill, winner of the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot, was an eye-catching fourth at Newmarket three weeks ago after two unplaced efforts, and he can bring the Turf season to a satisfactory conclusion for Gosden, second to Stoute in the trainers' table. Three-year-olds have a good record in the 12-furlong contest and others of the age-group to consider are the course-and-distance winner Dantesque and the improving filly Ridaiyma.
It is not too often that a Derby runner-up graces the Doncaster November meeting, but Heritage's stablemate Tamure, second to Lammtarra at Epsom two years ago, turns out for the listed Serlby Stakes. Any overnight rain would help the glass-legged five-year-old's cause (as it might hinder Heritage), but he may have to give best to Mons (2.25) in any case. Like Tamure, who was second to the Breeders' Cup Turf candidate Majorien at Longchamp on his latest run, Mons has shown his best recent form abroad. A repeat of his running when third to Caitano in a Group One race in Milan should be good enough to provide an end-of-season flourish for Kevin Darley, third-best on the jockeys' leaderboard.
Another who went under the auctioneer's hammer at Newmarket was Jawah (2.55), bought back by his trainer, Kamil Mahdi, for 32,000gns. The three- year-old can reward faith by securing his hat-trick.
At Chepstow it is judgement day for Marello (1.45), the highly rated mare who puts her unbeaten reputation on the line in the Tote Silver Trophy. She is regarded as Champion Hurdle material by many of jumping's shrewdest judges, but has been kept under wraps, contesting easy targets, by her self-effacing, clever trainer Mary Reveley.
She will be tested all the way by Martin Pipe's battle-hardened course- specialist Potentate and David Nicholson's ex-Irish Moscow Express, but should have too much class for them if she is the genuine article.
Forest Ivory (2.15) is regarded as one of the best young jumpers in Nicholson's powerful yard. Winner of a Grade One hurdle race at Aintree, he clearly has class in abundance and, assuming he has absorbed his lessons over the bigger obstacles, he should make a winning fencing debut in the Rising Stars Novices' Chase,
Another for whom the highest hopes are entertained is Go Native (3.05) who makes his seasonal debut at Uttoxeter. The Sue Smith-trained gelding was a high-class bumper performer last season and though he scored over timber at the back end of last season, he is still technically a novice and should take a leading rank in that division.
It would be asking a lot for another performer of the calibre of last year's winner, Coome Hill, who went on to take the Hennessy Gold Cup, to emerge from the Badger Beer Chase at Wincanton. But Paul Nicholls has always thought the world of Cherrynut (3.10), whose confidence was badly dented last season by some bad jumping but who looked far more in control of his legs when short-headed by one of today's rivals, Carole's Crusader, at Kempton last month. His mistakes were his own, though; the same cannot be said for one of his rivals, poor Lively Knight, whose dismal showing on his final appearance last term was later confirmed as the result of being doped.Reuse content