Donny ushers in the new Flat season

Let’s try an opening day ‘Patent’ on the first three races

Doncaster stages a super turf meeting this afternoon, as the Flat season officially gets underway. All-weather activities of course mean in reality it’s never entirely absent, but Donny represents a traditional curtain-raiser, with the richly-endowed Lincoln Handicap (3.35) taking centre stage.

Can’t resist putting up a few selections on such an auspicious day, and the first three races on the card offer up some very well-fancied horses from powerful yards. Playing them in a Patent (3 selections, 7 bets in total) seems deceptively like a plan to me, and we can choose our unit stake of course.

I’m going for £1 in this instance, which means the bet will cost me £7 in total. So – three horses in my Patent, and those 7x£1 bets comprise 3x£1 singles, 3x£1 doubles, and a £1 treble.

1.15 Brocklesby Stakes, 5f

I’m hoping that Persian Force, for Richard Hannon/Rossa Ryan, can get us off to a flyer. It’s the Brocklesby, a Conditions sprint race for 2-yr-olds, and none of these babies has run before. The colts all carry 9st 3lb, while for the couple of fillies scheduled to start it’s 8st 12lb.

‘Persian’ must have been impressing the work-watchers as it’s around the 4/5 mark, and the Hannon battalions invariably include some highly-talented youngsters. Happy to let the money do the talking here.

1.50 Cammidge Trophy, 6f

A Listed sprint, with Charlie Hills’ Garrus and Clive Cox’s Diligent Harry dominating the betting. ‘Harry’ hit the post in a couple of Group 3 sprints last term, and trainer Cox is a master with such animals.

One pound higher-rated on official marks is Garrus, a vastly-experienced 6-yr-old. He goes well fresh, crucially, and with slight concerns about the good to soft ground hampering Diligent Harry, he’s my selection to just prevail.

The ground will presumably be drying all the time though, so a cracking duel between the two is envisaged.

2.25 Spring Mile, 1m

Far more competitive, using the likely betting as a guide. At around 10/3 the field it’s value all the way if you have a view, and mine centres around John Quinn’s admirable 4-yr-old Empirestateofmind.

The anticipated bit of cut in the ground will be ideal for this consistent son of Starspangledbanner, though again, the bright weather will be having a drying effect.

As an example/reminder, a £1 win Patent across these 3 selections would cost us £7, and should we be lucky enough to see all three win, the return at current prices would be in the region of £50+

Prices can always fluctuate of course – please check for the very latest at

One winner would still see us getting a modest little return, dependant upon that winner’s starting price to our £1 unit stake, and of course 2, or 3, would be so much better.

Whatever you’re doing this afternoon, having a little flutter or not, enjoy your sport. Always bet to your pocket, as Fred would say, and always keep it fun.

Alan Firkins

All this afternoon’s cards, odds, with Betfred