Doncaster Preview: Heavenly River ready to shine
Heavenly River shaped with plenty of promise on her seasonal reappearance and looks weighted to take all the beating in the 1m 2f handicap at Doncaster today (14.40).
This Karl Burke trained filly hinted at ability in six runs last year, and put in a much improved effort when third of 15 to Sherriff Of Nawton at Doncaster 44 days ago.
After being held-up well off the pace, Heavenly River made headway a furlong from home and kept on well to be beaten six lengths.
The daughter of Stormy River failed by just a short-head to snatch second from First Sargeant who went into the contest on the back of a win, and the winner has since gone on to bolt up in an apprentice handicap at this venue.
That gives the form a solid look in the contest of this contest, and the assessor has taken a big chance in leaving Heavenly River on an unchanged mark of just 56.
Judge on that run the three-year-old looks ahead of her mark, and Heavenly River also has the services in the saddle of the promising Jordan Vaughan whose claims takes another 5lb off her back.
Off just 8st 7lb, and in receipt of weight from all bar one of her rivals, this represents a great opportunity for Heavenly River to open her account.
Gold Hunter has a good record at the track and can go well at a big price in the 7f handicap (16.25).
The gelding won his maiden over course and distance by six lengths back in 2013 when trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, and went on to finish a cracking third of 16 to the now 113-rated Breton Rock in a class 2 contest on good-to-soft ground – again over course and distance.
Gold Hunter backed that up with a third of 13 to Consign on soft ground over 7f at Ascot off 93, and is now able to race off a career-low rating of 88.
It gives the five-year-old every chance at the weights, and he showed that he retained plenty of ability following 540 days on the sidelines when third over 1m 1f at Wolverhampton on his first start for trainer Steve Fluke.
Gold Hunter could then finish only fifth of 9 to You’re Fired in a 1m contest at Ripon last time out, but that was a messily run affair and the son of Invincible Spirit did finish 4 lengths in front of King Torus who is towards the head of the market today and now 1lb worse of at the weights.
The drop back to 7f is certainly a big plus for Gold Hunter, and at the odds on offer he looks overpriced for a horse that is potentially very well-treated on the pick of his form.
14.10: Magic Circle
14.40: Heavenly River (NAP)
16.25: Gold Hunter (NB)
18.05: Three Gracez