Race of The Day Friday September 14
15:352 miles 2 furlongs (3600m)

Doncaster Cup (Group 2)


  • Current Favourite  Thomas Hobson
  • Current Odds 5/2
Race Analysis Runners 8 Going Good (Good to Soft in places) Distance 2 miles 2 furlongs (3600m)

Race Overview

A famous old race that has seen its share of drama and high-class winners over the years, the £100,000 Doncaster Cup is staged over two-and-a-quarter miles of the galloping Town Moor track at the South Yorkshire venue. It is part of the British Champions Series and in recent decades this race first run in 1801 has produced the superb three-time winner Double Trigger, as well as other household names such as Persian Punch, Sergeant Cecil, Millenary, and The Queen’s Gold Cup winner, Estimate.

With the season’s super-stayer Stradivarius sitting this one out, the chance has opened up for one of the eight stayers to step up and land the prize, and they include the 2016 winner Sheikhzayedroad.

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Irish champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins

Favourite Thomas Hobson

One of three Willie Mullins-trained and Susannah Ricci-owned runners in the field, if Thomas Hobson can reproduce his great effort in last year’s Melbourne Cup or his second in this race 12 months ago he could well prove hard to stop. He hasn’t been quite at his best so far this term however.

Top rank jockey Oisin Murphy

Other Contenders

David Simcock’s 2016 winner Sheikhzayed Road was also third in this race 12 months ago and goes well here, while stable companion Algometer, the mount of Oisin Murphy (pictured) tries a new trip. Mullins’ Max Dynamite and Renetti also have claims along with the anticipated favourite. Lord Yeats has a chance to shine up in distance, and the two remaining runners – Saunter and Jukebox Jive – cannot be ruled out of an open renewal.

Race Analysis

This is a very trappy renewal of the Group 2 staying contest with no outstanding candidate, in my view. The bookies make Thomas Hobson favourite despite the fact that he is officially only the fourth-best horse in the race. He is one of three contenders from the all-conquering Willie Mullins yard, but the County Carlow-based maestro has never managed to win this race. Thomas Hobson was a good runner-up to Desert Skyline in this race 12 months ago and a repeat of that effort – in which Sheikhzayedroad was third – might well be good enough.

Although he has run creditably and had excuses in his two runs this term in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh last time, this eight-year-old doesn’t look great value and is worth taking on.

Sheikhzayedroad won this race in fine style in 2016 then followed up at Ascot the following month in the Group 2 British Champions Long Distance Cup. He has been placed in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup behind the mighty Vazirabad for the last two seasons, but that trip to the Arabian Gulf seems to take plenty out of him. He wasn’t at his best in the Henry II Stakes and Ascot Gold Cup when unplaced, but tends to run well in the autumn so there is every chance he may bounce back to something closer to his best at this happy hunting ground.

Simcock also saddles ALGOMETER, a very interesting contender trying this trip for the first time. He’s been running well at Group 2 level over 1m6f and has relatives that stayed beyond two miles so is definitely worth a crack at what is probably a sub-standard renewal. Jockey of the season Oisin Murphy is on board and it would come as no surprise if this five-year-old was to raise his game over this marathon distance. He looks worth chancing over the extra half mile.

The two other Mullins-trained runners, Max Dynamite and Renetti both have something to prove. Max Dynamite ran a mighty race to be third in the Melbourne Cup last November but hasn’t looked the same horse since and is hard to recommend on recent evidence. Renetti has run two lifeless races since finishing a good runner-up to Pallasator in the longest race of the year, the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. Frankie Dettori rides and he has a better chance over this trip than in his two starts last month, so a place is not out of the question.

Lord Yeats goes for Yorkshire, and having won in listed company over 1m4f at Newmarket last term has found life tougher in pattern company since. He ran creditable though earlier in the term at Navan and Longchamp and would probably have needed the run when 11th of 20 in the Ebor Handicap where he raced prominently for a long way. Stepping up half a mile in trip might just be the making of him and he should give a good account of himself with his fitness now more or less guaranteed.

Ian Williams’ horses are in fine form and his Saunter has won two of his last three starts and finished a couple of places ahead of Lord Yeats in the Ebor. He would have been at peak fitness that day as he tried to complete a hattrick, and while he may again run well, he hasn’t looked the most obvious candidate for a trip of this nature. Jukebox Jive is a decent staying handicapper but this is a tough ask and he has plenty to find on official figures if he’s going to spring what would be a major shock.

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Betting.net Selection

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Betting.net Danger

Lord Yeats

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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.