‘Punch’ to deliver before ‘Star’ of the final curtain!

Star Zinc smacks of a Super-Saturday ‘special’ in division one of the Maiden Stakes over six furlongs of ‘soft’ Doncaster today when the 2021 turf-flat season concludes with a wonderful eight-race programme which includes the ‘final curtain’ November Handicap, a twenty-three runner mile and a half slog.

Something for everybody without doubt but, as ever, my focus is on the juvenile age group which of course heralded the campaign back in May when ultra-consistent Chipotle romped away with the ‘Brocklesby’ and went onto score at expense of twenty-six ‘Windsor Castle rivals at Royal Ascot and, a few weeks ago, in Redcar’s hugely-competitive £100000 Two-Year-Old Trophy.

First to know about Chipotle were you readers, immediately after my time-computation of the prestigious five furlongs ‘dash!’

Time-handicapping gives me a tremendous edge and certainly Star Zinc definitely meets criteria judged on his tremendous debut second to subsequent Wolverhampton winner Al Bahez, a better than average first-season Dark Angel colt from Tom Clover’s burgeoning yard.

Star Zinc, beaten only two lengths, was not unfancied by the shrewd Newmarket-based trainer Charlie Fellowes; a 7/1 starting price indicates there was a measure of support and I’ll bet losses will be recouped.

Just under three hours later once-raced William Haggas-trained Hebrides is again forecast favourite for division two and will take the beating but, price-wise, I’m more interested in each-way prospects of Oasis Gift, mount of David Probert, riding for his prolific guv’nor Andrew Balding.

Eighth (of 10!) will not have pulses racing but Ocean Gift shaped encouragingly under patient stable apprentice William Carver; expect this Oasis Dream colt to ‘come on a ton’ and take issue in the closing stages. One to follow whatever happens and indeed close monitoring of both legs should prove profitable subsequently on the all-weather scene. Nowadays we don’t have to wait until next year!

Over the same course and distance Tim Easterby-trained May Punch rates a serious each-way bet under Andrew Mullen in the opening Nursery Handicap and a time comparison with the aforementioned maidens will be my first port of call tomorrow morning; it’s never ending, I sincerely wish it was!

Breeders’ Cup action from Del Mar dominates our screens tonight but I’m not interested sufficiently to mention any runner specifically, in an exceptionally-competitive environment, suffice to say Aidan O’Brien is quietly confident about his team and you must never underestimate French raiders.

Thanks again for your patronage this season, let’s hope I get my third pacemaker in good time!

Selections, Doncaster, 11.50 May Punch (e.w); 12.20 Star Zinc; 5.10 Oasis Gift (e.w). 

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019