Race of The Day Wednesday September 12
15:005 furlongs (1000m)

D C Training And Development Services Scarbrough Stakes (Listed)

Doncaster

  • Current Favourite  El Astronaute
  • Current Odds 3/1
Race Analysis Runners 9 Going Good to Soft (Good in places) Distance 5 furlongs (1000m)

Race Overview

A good quality £40,000 listed five furlong sprint open to two year olds and upwards, run on the straight course on the opening day of the four-day Doncaster St Leger Festival. This is a race for pure speed merchants and has been won by some very fast horses over the years, many of whom have performed well at up to Group 1 level.

The Scarbrough Stakes has been won by three Group 1 winners in the last eight years alone; Prohibit Sole Power, and Mecca’s Angel. Last year’s winner, the Robert Cowell-trained Encore D’Or, bids to become the first horse since Galeota in 2008 to win the race in successive years. His handler is also represented by Global Applause.

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Racehorse trainer John Quinn

Favourite El Astronaute

In an open contest El Astronaute, trained in Yorkshire by John Quinn (pictured), may just start favourite having been in fine form of late. He ran on strongly to beat Final Venture in a hot sprint handicap at York’s Ebor fixture last month and is actually 2lb better off here with the runner-up.

Young jockey David Egan

Other Contenders

The juvenile Sunsprite, ridden by David Egan (pictured), is a progressive young sprinter and adds an extra dimension to the race, while last year’s hero Encore D’Or could again make his presence felt. Final Venture, Global Applause and Under The Covers are others with claims in a good renewal.

Race Analysis

Last year’s winner Encore D’Or is now officially rated a 7lb inferior horse so on the face of it should find it tough to defend his crown. But that is without taking into account that the only turf track on which he has actually won is Doncaster, and his win last year came on soft ground, which surprised many for a horse who had previously done best on AW tracks. Robert Cowell has won this race twice in the last eight years, and Encore D’Or ran two fine races in hot Ascot handicaps in July showing he still retains plenty of ability. This very fast track seems to suit him and he should make a bold bid to win this good race for the second year running.

El Astronaute comes into this race on the back of a fine winning effort at the York Ebor Festival where he stayed on well to deny Final Venture by a neck. He was giving the runner-up 2lb that day but meets him on level terms in this listed event so technically should increase his advantage over his old rival. The five-year-old has been a model of consistency this term and again looks set to go close on the proviso that there is no more rain, as his few disappointing career runs have been on soft ground.

Final Venture, runner-up to El Astronaute at York, was subsequently fifth in the listed Beverley Bullet. He finished fourth in this race 12 months ago, beaten over two lengths, but is now 3lb better off with Encore D’Or.

The really fascinating runner here is the two-year-old Sunsprite, trained by Richard Hughes, who gets 16lb and upwards from his rivals. It’s very hard for a juvenile taking on seasoned older sprinters, but this tough Kodiac colt is still relatively unexposed having rattled off a hattrick this summer – including two short-head successes – followed by a good effort last time when third in the listed Ripon Champion Two Year Old Trophy on easy ground. The fact that his shrewd handler chooses to pitch his youngster in at this level looks significant and I would expect him to give a very good account of himself.

Haddaf landed a listed event at Sandown in June, a race in which Wings Of The Rock was third and is now 3lb better off for three lengths. Haddaf, a three-year-old, has to give weight to older horses under the conditions of this race which makes life very tough, and connections reach for first time blinkers following his latest disappointing eighth to Global Applause at Sandown.

GLOBAL APPLAUSE won with plenty in hand at Sandown on September 1 on what was his first start for Robert Cowell after a three-and-a-half month break. The handicapper has seen fit to raise him 7lb to a new mark of 104 but star French rider Gerald Mosse is again in the saddle and he should be very much on the premises. He was a smart juvenile a few seasons ago before suffering an injury, and if back to close to his best old form might prove hard to deny despite stepping back up from handicap to listed company.

Under The Covers and Marnie James make up the field, both having enjoyed a good season, and a decent display from either is not ruled out, although they both have something to find on the figures.

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Betting.net Selection

Global Applause
3/1
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Betting.net Danger

Encore D'Or
10/1

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Paul Alster Betting.net

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.