Four To Follow: The Flat Is Back!


Oliver Holmes tipped a short-priced winner in last week’s Four to Follow. This week, he’s hoping to give Best of Bets’ viewers a bigger-priced winner on the flat at Doncaster.

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1:50 – Brocklesby Stakes – Sankari @ 12/1 (General)

The traditional curtain-raiser is a two-year-old race that is a complete guessing-game, but looking at the breeding of the horse can give some clues. The current favourite may be owned by Amo Racing, but Valadero is by Starspangledbanner, who was better over firmer ground. Given the softer ground on Saturday, it’s worth taking on the favourite. Recent trends suggest that soft ground gives an advantage to horses drawn low, and one that catches the eye is Sankari for Jason Hart and John Quinn, responsible for high-class sprinter Highfield Princess. Sankari is by the talented Ribchester, who broke the Queen Anne record over fast ground, but has plenty of soft ground form to count for too, so I expect over time for this horse to do the same. He’s a nice price at 12/1 generally.

There isn’t a real each-way shout, but if I had one it would be Go To Work. Rossa Ryan is a highlighted jockey booking, and is currently operating at a 25% strike rate. Out of Inns Of Court, who is being talked about as a possible leading sire for the season, Go To Work should be able to get soft ground. 22/1 is generally found.

2:25 – Spring Mile Handicap – Baltimore Boy @ 7/1 (General)

A tricky handicap, but the consolation race for the Lincoln always provides some good clues for the big race. As mentioned before low draws should have the advantage. But in a big field like this, any draw that’s near to a rail will benefit. Baltimore Boy is drawn five, and is a relatively unexposed horse. Four runs on the all-weather, before turning to the flat at Ascot at the back-end of last season. He dwelt in the stalls, but produced an eye-catching run, nearly collaring Raising Sand on the line, but couldn’t quite catch-up. Softer ground will be beneficial and provides decent value at 7/1 generally.

An each-way play has to be last year’s winner Arthur’s Realm. Only eight turned up that day, so this will be a sterner test. But with the ground soft, he has a good advantage. His mark has always been around the high 80’s-90 mark, so shouldn’t be a problem. He also has up and coming jockey Oisin Orr, who I have a lot of time for. He’s drawn on the stand side rail, which won’t hinder his chances and is a nice play at 10/1 with BetVictor and William Hill.

3:00 – Cammidge Trophy – Asjad @ 4/1 (BetVictor, William Hill)

Ratings go out of the window for races like this. Commanche Falls and El Caballo should be fighting it out. But one hates the ground, and the other loves the tapeta. So it makes sense to go elsewhere. Asjad is one who sticks out on ratings and ground. Last two starts on soft ground have come over course and soft ground, producing a narrow win and a narrow second. The first time out record for Asjad is exemplary too, winning three out four times after a 50+ day break (the other was a second). To take on the favourite he’s a good 4/1 generally.

Another I like was talked up on Ash Symonds’ ante-post preview. Fast Response will love the ground having won on heavy last time out over C&D. His performance in these conditions will suit him massively, and a wide draw will suit as well. He’s shortened throughout the week but still a good 9/1 with BetUK.

3:35 – The Lincoln – Wanees @ 9/1 (William Hill)

Wanees produced a good run on his last start in a handicap up at Haydock and has been kept fresh since. For that run, he’s only been raised 3lbs, which he should more than handle. Jim Crowley produced winner after winner on a Saturday last season for the Shadwell operation. A wide draw, and with a good ability on soft ground, he’s the one to take out of the principals at 9/1 with William Hill.

The each-way shouts start with the second behind Wanees in the Haydock race, Montassib. He looks versatile over all sorts of ground, but has had a very steady rise through the handicaps puts him in good stead for this race. Another horse who is drawn wide for this race is a positive too, and William Haggas is always a trainer to follow throughout the season. Best price is 14/1 with BetVictor.

Empirestateofmind is another I can’t ignore. How many times can a horse come second? Four times he finished runner-up last season, but it shows he’s a progressive horse. Rated at 99, the 5lb claim from Taylor Fisher will help and conditions shouldn’t be too bad. The draw is a negative, however, as he’s drawn right in the middle of the track. Best price 16/1 with BetVictor.

One more, for those who want to take advantage of extra places with their bookmaker, I like is Toshizou. A recent purchase by the Roger Fell stable, from Joseph O’Brien, looks to have more under his belt than shown. He finished fifth behind Saltonstall, who was runner up in the Irish Lincolnshire last week. The form backs up from the other horses in that race. And, once upon a time, raced fourth behind a certain Kyprios. Horses first time out under Fell, sometimes go under the radar. Long-shot at 33/1 with BetVictor.

As always, the very best of luck!

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