Doncaster and Kempton previews: Reward time at Donny
David Metcalf | February 24, 2016
Reaping The Reward ready to rock
Reaping The Reward has shaped really well in two starts this season and looks decent value to land the spoils in the 3m veterans’ handicap chase on today’s card at Doncaster (15.30).
The Lucinda Russell trained 12-year-old was a dual winner over fences last season, and looked better than ever on return to action when a cracking second of 10 to Sego Success over course and distance.
After being held-up off the pace, the gelding made stealthy headway from five out to hold every chance at the last before keeping on well to be beaten five lengths.
Although now 2lb higher in the weights, Reaping Reward showed that his current mark of 134 was not beyond him when a fine third to Soll at Sandown last month.
The son of Sylvan Express travelled supremely well for much of the contest, and after making smooth headway from the rear held every chance between the final two fences.
Reaping Reward then got tired in the very testing conditions, but to his credit he stuck on gamely to be beaten just over six lengths.
The better ground this afternoon is sure to suit, and with Peter Buchanan in the saddle Reaping Reward looks the one to beat.
Fort Worth weighted to strike
In the 3m handicap hurdle (15.00), Fort Worth is a fascinating contender now back on better ground.
The gelding shaped with bags of promise on his sole start in an Irish point when fourth to the ultra-classy No More Heroes, and after joining trainer Jonjo O’Neill won his sole start in a bumper in good style.
Fort Worth looked a useful prospect, and that view was confirmed when he showed a smart turn of foot to make a winning debut over hurdles at Wetherby.
The seven-year-old then fell in two of his next three starts over the obstacles, but Fort Worth showed that he remained a horse with plenty of potential when a cracking second of 11 to Leave It At Dawn at Cheltenham on seasonal reappearance off a mark of 125.
After being held-up in the rear, Forth Worth travelled strongly into the contest and kept on well to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths despite making a bad mistake at the second last.
Although unable to build on that when just seventh of nine at Aintree next time up, Fort Worth hated the heavy ground and looks a massive player in this off a mark of 129 judged on his Cheltenham run now returned to a sounder surface.
14.00: Divine Spear
14.30: Our Thomas
15.00: Fort Worth (NB)
15.30: Reaping The Reward (NAP)
16.05: Paint The Clouds
16.40: William Hunter
17.10: Rather Be
Rich can go in Again at Kempton
Rich Again scored in good style last time out and can make light of a rise in the weights to follow-up in the 6f handicap on this evening’s card at Kempton (19.40).
The James Bethell trained gelding struck form at this time last year when rattling up a four-timer, and in last of those successes came with a late run to score by 3/4 of a length off a mark of 80.
Rich Again went on to be placed off marks as high as 84, and took advantage of a drop in the weights to get back to winning ways at Wolverhampton earlier in the month when scything through the field to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths off a rating of 71.
The seven-year-old was well on top at the finish and scored with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests, and although now 6lb higher in the weights has won off higher than 77 in the past and remains dangerously well-treated on the pick of his form.
Crowning Star weighted to shine
In the 7f handicap that opens proceedings (17.40), Crowning Star looks decent value to take advantage of a drop in the weights and get back to winning ways.
The Steve Woodman trained gelding was last successful over course and distance in March 2015 when scoring by 3/4 of a length off a mark of 50.
Crowning Star backed that up with a solid third at Lingfield off 52, and is now able to race off just 45.
That is 5lb lower than when last victorious and gives the seven-year-old, who was rated as high as 74 earlier in his career, major claims from a handicapping perspective.
Although disappointing last time out when pulling too hard, Crowning Star had previously shaped as if coming to the boil when an eye-catching sixth of 13 to Fairy Mist over course and distance.
Judged on that effort he is a big player in this if settling better than last time.
17.40: Crowning Star (NB)
18.10: Mystic Blaze
18.40: Sloane Avenue
19.10: Fern Owl
19.40: Rich Again (NAP)
20.10: Delagoa Bay