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Talking Horses: Friday’s best bets for Doncaster Cup and St Leger meeting | Sport

It is 4-1 the field for the St Leger on Saturday after the final declarations yesterday, and the same for this afternoon’s Doncaster Cup, a fascinating nine-runner contest in which a decent case can be made for every horse in the field.

Fun Mac for instance is the 20-1 outsider this morning, but he was less than a length behind Montaly, the 9-2 second-favourite, when they finished third and first respectively in the Chester Cup back in May. Fun Mac is also 6lb better off this afternoon and took a Listed race at Maisons-Laffitte last time out.

Hughie Morrison’s six-year-old is a decent each-way bet on that basis, but he got a soft lead and a smart ride there and is unlikely to enjoy such an easy time of it today. For win purposes, Desert Skyline (3.35), the only three-year-old in the field, looks like the best option on the back of his close second in the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville last month.

David Elsworth’s gelding was unlucky not to finish closer after struggling for running room inside the final quarter-mile, and his previous run into third in the Group One Goodwood Cup also reads well in the context of today’s race.

Tomyris (1.50) has a little to find with Eternally, based on their form when third and second respectively in the Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood last time out, but Roger Varian’s filly was drawn in stall 16 there and did not have much luck in running either. She looks big at 9-1 to reverse the form, while Heartache (2.25) is also very tempting at around 13-8 to beat Havana Grey in what could well amount to a match for the Flying Childers Stakes.

Havana Grey’s consistency is impressive, but Heartache looked a cut above in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and after just three starts, including a Group One outing last time when the trip and ground did not play to her strengths, she is worth backing to improve past Karl Burke’s colt.

On the day’s other cards, Explain (3.55), a five-length winner over course and distance back in June, has a handy draw and is a tempting bet at around 13-2 for the seven-furlong handicap at Chester, while Sharja Bridge (3.10) will take some beating in the one-mile handicap at Sandown.

Greg Wood’s Friday tips

Doncaster 1.20 Tip Two Win 1.50 Tomyris 2.25 Heartache (nap) 3.00 Time To Study 3.35 Desert Skyline (nb) 4.05 Ghaiyyath 4.35 Muntadab 5.10 Swilly Sunset

Chester 2.15 Spud 3.25 Nathan 3.55 Explain 4.30 Song Maker 5.40 Miss Goldsmith

Sandown 1.30 Swing Out Sister 2.00 Melonade 2.35 Mekong 3.10 Sharja Bridge 4.15 Grand Inquisitor 4.45 Capton

Salisbury 4.25 Alternative Fact 5.00 Dandiesque 5.30 Incentive 6.05 Travelcard 6.35 On To Victory 7.05 Ajman King

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