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Monday, 26 February 2018

Doncaster Handicap: Ante Post Betting Preview

The eagerly anticipated grand finals of Australian racing begin with the $3 million Doncaster Handicap at Royal Randwick on April 7. The Championships carry more than £20 million in prize money over the two days and feature several prestigious races that attracted an impressive roll call of superstar trainers, jockeys and horses. The Doncaster Handicap is one of the biggest events during the meeting and has had several noteworthy winners over the years, including the legendary Winx in 2016. It is run over 1600m and is therefore also known as the Doncaster Mile, and it has been running since 1866. Some of the best gallopers in history have emerged victorious here, including Tobin Bronze, Super Impose and Sunline. Here are the leading ante post contenders to join them in the history books by winning the 2018 renewal:
Kementari
The Lonhro colt delivered a classy performance to claim victory at a star studded Group 2 Hobartville Stakes over 1400m at the weekend. He beat Pierata, D’Argento, Trapeze Artist, Ace High and other stars to win the $400,000 showpiece, and the odds on him winning the Randwick Guineas and the Doncaster Mile were immediately slashed. The consistent galloper has now won both races since making his season reappearance in the Group 3 Aquis Farm Eskimo Prince Stakes at Warwick Farm on February 10. He is in ominous form heading into this year's classics, and he looks as though he could be racing’s next big thing. “This colt is very good,” said Godolphin representative Darren Beadman after the Hobartville Stakes win. “I think he is top notch. To run past a horse like Trapeze Artist, who has the runs on the board, was very impressive. This was a test for him today and he has put them away nicely. We have seen a star in the making.” If he follows in Winx’s footsteps by winning the Doncaster Mile, Kementari really will have announced himself on the big stage and he is currently the $7 favourite to do so in the racing betting.

D’Argento
Chris Waller’s grey colt rallied well in the closing stages of the Hobartville Stakes to take third and the trainer believes he will relish a step up in trip. The extra 200m could make all the difference for D’Argento at the Doncaster Mile as he was flying at the end of the race. He is progressing nicely at the right time of season and looks dangerous ahead of The Championships at Randwick in April. He was magnificent in winning at Rosehill last year and shows signs of further improvement this time around, so he will give Kementari and co a real run for their money.

Brave Smash

Japan-bred Brave Smash beat stablemate Tosen Stardom to win the Group 1 Italktravel Futurity Stakes at Caulfield for Darren Weir at the weekend. The five-year-old is cementing his reputation as a star sprinter in Australia and can look forward to a lengthy spell in the breeding barn. But before that there is more glory potentially on the horizon, and the Doncaster Mile is now very much in his sights. Brave Smash has already placed at the Group 1 Ladbrokes C. F. Orr Stakes and the $10 million Everest Stakes at Randwick, the richest turf race in the world. That amounts to a mightily impressive CV and Brave Smash will certainly be in the mix at Randwick in April.
Happy Clapper
Happy Clapper has finished second in the Doncaster Handicap for the last two years and will bid to go one better this April. Since his last runner-up finish, the popular Syndey galloper has enjoyed breakthrough Group 1 success at Randwick in the $1 million Epsom Handicap. That was trainer Pat Webster’s happiest moment in a racing career spanning 40 years as it represented his first ever Group 1 victory, and he will be hopeful that Happy Clapper can lead him to further glory this year. However, he has to carry 57kg for the Doncaster Mile, while Kementari has just 51.5kg, so victory will be difficult for him.
The Rest
Tosen Stardom should enjoy the slightly longer trip, while Alizee and Pierata are attracting a lot of attention. Humidor, who won last year’s Australian Cup and Makybe Diva Stakes and got within a neck of Winx in the Cox Plate, carries top weight. There is talent throughout the ante post field, including Aloisia, Cliff’s Edge and Black Hear Bart, and it should prove to be an open and intriguing contest, but right now Kementari stands out.

Author bio
Martin Green is an experienced horse racing correspondent and tipster and has been covering the Doncaster Mile for many years.

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