|Where||Royal Randwick Racecourse – Alison Road, Randwick NSW|
|When||Saturday, April 2, 2022 | 5:15pm AEDT | Race 9|
|Conditions||Handicap | Three-Year-Olds & Upwards | Minimum Weight 49kg|
|2021 Winner||Cascadian (3) | Trainer: James Cummings | Jockey: Jamie Kah (53kg)|
The feature race on Day 1 of The Championships is the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), which has attracted a capacity field of 20 horses and four emergencies. Under handicap conditions, last year’s winner, Cascadian, will carry the top weight of 56kg, while the Randwick Guineas winner over this course and distance on March 5, Converge, will carry the bottom weight of 49.5kg.
Forbidden Love is the $4.80 favourite on the back of back-to-back Group 1 victories, while I’m Thunderstruck is the $5 second favourite after running second in the All-Star Mile on March 12. The three-year-old Converge is the only other runner in single figures at $9 with online bookmakers.
Ellsberg ($14) is the likely leader in Saturday’s Doncaster Mile, while Forbidden Love and Mr Brightside ($17) will also go forward. Last-start Coolmore Classic winner Lighthouse ($15) will role forward from barrier 23, while Converge will also be in a handy spot from barrier three in his quest to win a third Group 1 over 1600m. I’m Thunderstruck and last year’s runner-up, Icebath ($18), will get back in the run, along with the 2021 Epsom Handicap winner, Private Eye ($17).
Continue reading for HorseBetting’s full runner-by-runner preview and $100 betting strategy for the 2022 Doncaster Mile.
1. CASCADIAN (18)
7yo G | T: James Cummings | J: James McDonald (56kg)
Last year’s winner goes up 3kg off his 2021 victory, but he also goes from barrier three to barrier 18, which makes it hard to see Cascadian going back-to-back in the famous mile. The seven-year-old gelding ran a solid fifth in his past two starts in the Australian Cup and All-Star Mile behind Duais and Zaaki respectively. He is going to get back from the outside alley and be running on strongly, but he will need to find his best form to win.
2. I’M THUNDERSTRUCK (8)
4yo G | T: Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr | J: Hugh Bowman (55.5kg)
I’m Thunderstruck looks ready to fire on Saturday after a much better run last start in the All-Star Mile. The Golden Eagle winner from 2021 looked to be a bit flat in his first two runs this preparation, but once he got to 1600m last time out, he really stretched out and knuckled down late to run second. Now fourth-up, at 1600m and on a wet track which he loves, he is going to be one to watch in the concluding stages. This could be his chance to win a major Group 1 race.
3. PRIVATE EYE (22)
4yo G | T: Joseph Pride | J: Regan Bayliss (54kg)
The Epsom Handicap winner returns to the Randwick Mile for the first time since he won the famous race in October with 52.5kg on his back. The son of Al Maher should be getting close to peaking on Saturday after two solid runs back in the Canterbury Stakes and George Ryder Stakes behind Forbidden Love both times. He now goes from weight-for-age to a handicap, so he will no doubt appreciate the 5kg drop in weight to 54kg. He too will be doing his best work late, with the wide barrier the big knock on his winning chances.
4. DALASAN (5)
5yo H | T: Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas | J: Chad Schoefield (53.5kg)
Dalasan has had plenty of chances at Group 1 level and he is still yet to breakthrough, but he does have a good record at this course and distance, having placed third in both the 2021 Doncaster and 2021 Epsom in his only starts over the Randwick Mile. Having nearly won the Epsom with 55kg on his back, the South Australian’s loyal followers could easily make a case for him to say that if he had 53.5kg on that occasion, he would have won the race. He’s honest, but we need to see him win before we could be confident tipping him.
5. LIGHTHOUSE (23)
5yo M | T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace | J: Damian Lane (53kg)
Lighthouse has really burst onto the scene in the past six months, going from a Benchmark 84 in November at Kilmore to Group 1 success during the Sydney Autumn Carnival. In her eight Australian starts, the big grey mare has won five races and been runner up on three other occasions, proving to be a model of consistency for her connections and followers. Coming off a dominant win in the Coolmore Classic on March 12, this five-year-old will have to overcome a sticky gate, but the form she is in makes her hard to put a line through. She has a world-class jockey on her back, and she gets in reasonably well at 53kg, so we have plenty of respect for her.
6. LAWS OF INDICES (3)
4yo H | T: Annabel Neasham | J: Tommy Berry (53kg)
We aren’t too sure what to do with Laws Of Indices. The four-year-old entire ran a really brave fifth in his Australian debut in the Golden Eagle, while his best result since was a last-start third to Forbidden Love in the George Ryder Stakes on March 19 at Rosehill. The son of Power did look to do his best work late, suggesting that the 1600m will be his go on Saturday. Tommy Berry hops back aboard the galloper, while barrier four is going to give them a sweet ride in transit. He just needs to put it all together.
7. ELLSBERG (6)
4yo H | T: Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou | J: Tim Clark (52kg)
Ellsberg has been a model of consistency throughout his career, winning six from 16 and placing on a further eight occasions, but he is yet to win a race above Group 3 level. The son of Spill The Beans has finished runner up in both the Villiers Stakes and Ajax Stakes – both of which offer ballot exemption into the Doncaster – but luckily for his owners, he had a high enough rating to gain a start anyway. He has drawn favourably in gate six and will almost definitely be in front at the 400m mark, it’s just a matter of whether or not he is good enough to win in his maiden attempt at Group 1 level.
8. INSPIRATIONAL GIRL (19)
6yo M | T: Danny O’Brien | J: William Pike (51.5kg)
William Pike and Inspirational Girl team back up for the first time since their runner-up effort in the 2020 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic in Perth when beaten $2.10 favourites. The former Western Australians now spend their days in the eastern states, with the six-year-old mare trained by Danny O’Brien. After upstaging Zaaki in the Blamey Stakes two starts ago, the daughter of Reliable Man was found out a bit in the All-Star Mile, finishing four and a half lengths off Zaaki and I’m Thunderstruck. She will get back from the wide alley and be winding up late under 51.5kg, but the genuine heavy deck is a query.
9. HUNGRY HEART (11)
4yo M | T: Chris Waller | J: TBA (51.5kg)
Chris Waller is looking to win his seventh Doncaster, but he could be left waiting for another 12 months. Hungry Heart is a class act, there is no denying that, but she just doesn’t go a yard on wet tracks. If this was a Good 4, the Frankel mare would be a live chance, but she is hard to tip on a Heavy 10. Waller is yet to nominate a jockey for the four-year-old either, so she may not even take her place.
10. ICEBATH (9)
5yo M | T: Brad Widdup | J: Fred Kersley (51.5kg)
Icebath is looking to go one better in the Doncaster after running a narrow second in this race 12 months ago. The Brad Widdup-trained five-year-old mare is a noted wet tracker, with some of her best efforts coming on rain-affected track. The daughter of Sacred Falls – a two-time Doncaster winner himself – was a touch plain when ninth in the All-Star Mile, but she does have a terrific record at Randwick. The light weight brings her right into this race, as does the Heavy 10. Watch out for her closing in on the tiring leaders.
11. SKY LAB (1)
4yo G | T: Paul Perry | J: Kathy O’Hara (51.5kg)
Paul Perry and Kathy O’Hara combine with talented four-year-old gelding, Sky Lab, in what will be his third attempt at winning a Group 1. The son of Real Impact was narrowly defeated in the Rosehill Guineas almost 12 months ago to the day, before he went on in the spring to run 12th in the Epsom. The four-year-old won in fine style first-up in a Benchmark 100, but he has been plain over 2000m in his two runs since. He’s a good horse, but he may get found out in this.
12. KISSONALLFORCHEEKS (7)
4yo M | T: Daniel Morton | J: Alysha Collett (51kg)
Another Western Australian is the Daniel Morton-trained Kissonallforcheeks, who is looking to win back-to-back races. The four-year-old has won nine of her 19 starts, while he is twice placed at Group 1 level in Perth. Coming off a dominant win in the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Stakes at Flemington on March 12, the mare by Written Tycoon looks to have snuck under the radar on Saturday. In three Soft track runs, Kissonallforcheeks has won twice and placed second on another occasion, while her sole Heavy track run saw her miss the placings. If she handles the Heavy 10, she is a genuine winning chance from a good draw.
13. NUMERIAN (2)
6yo G | T: Annabel Neasham | J: Robbie Dolan (51kg)
Annabel Neasham’s two runners both came up with good barriers, with Numerian set to jump from barrier two. The six-year-old son of Holy Roman Emperor has only hard two starts in Australia where he has just made up numbers on both occasions. He is a Listed winner over 2000m in Ireland where he beat home Sir Dragonet, so he has the class, it’s just whether or not he has the right form of late. Zaaki made his Australian debut in this race 12 months ago off similar European form and ran a great race!
14. HILAL (16)
3yo C | T: Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes | J: Brock Ryan (50.5kg)
Team Hawkes saddle up three-year-old colt Hilal who is always around the mark. The son of Fastnet Rock has had three starts at the Randwick Mile, running second in the Champagne Stakes 12 months ago, winning the Bondi Stakes and then running third in the Randwick Guineas in March. He drops a lot of weight from his last-start seventh in the George Ryder, but he meets Converge 1kg worse and has to overturn a 2.6-length margin from the Randwick Guineas four weeks ago.
15. BRUTALITY (17)
5yo G | T: Joseph Pride | J: Jay Ford (50.5kg)
Brutality won his way into this race with a good win in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes back in December when beating Ellsberg. The five-year-old son of Shamus Award does his best racing on the back-up, so the five-day turnaround after running midfield in Monday’s Doncaster Prelude at Newcastle should tip him over nicely. He too is going to get a fair way back from barrier 17, so it will take a masterful steer by young Brock Ryan. He needs to find another level.
16. FORBIDDEN LOVE (14)
4yo M | T: Richard & Michael Freedman | J: Jamie Kah (50kg)
Forbidden Love could be one of the best wet-track specialists of modern racing history – yes, that is a big call – but the way that she glides across the turf on bottomless tracks and puts her rivals to the sword is Winx-like. This four-year-old daughter of All Too Hard has won three straight races leading into the Donnie, all of which have been dominant and all on heavy tracks. The Canterbury Stakes and George Ryder winner has been found out in her two starts over 1600m, but it is rare to see a three-time Group 1 winner line up under handicap conditions with just 50kg on her back. Jamie Kah won this race last year and she has a great chance to win it again with a quality, quality mare. The wide gate shouldn’t be an issue because she will roll forward and be handy to the speed, while the wet track will bring out her best. She could blow them away, or she could stop at the 50m mark.
17. JUST FOLK (10)
5yo G | T: Josh Julius | J: Dean Holland (50kg)
Just Folk was a good tough winner of the Ajax Stakes in his most recent start which confirmed his position in this race, where he defeated Ellsberg and Kiku. The son of Magnus won the Group 2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day five starts ago, while he ran brave races behind Superstorm, Marabi and Tofane. He is three from three on a Heavy track, he gets in light and he’s drawn well, so we couldn’t talk you out of him.
18. KIKU (20)
4yo M | T: Chris Waller | J: Linda Meech (50kg)
Kiku is a nice mare and a very consistent one at that, coming off a narrow second in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes on Monday behind Promise Of Success. The daughter of Zoustar drops 5kg from that run and she rises to 1600m which is going to be up her alley. Her wet track form is pretty good at a slightly lower level, but it is hard to see her turning the tables on the likes of Forbidden Love, Just Folk and Ellsberg.
19. MR BRIGHTSIDE (21)
4yo G | T: Ben & JD Hayes | J: Craig Williams (50kg)
Mr Brightside won six of his first eight starts – all consecutively – before having that run ended in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day during the spring. Although he had his colours lowered, he only went down by three-tenths of a length with 52kg on his back. The son of Bullbars hasn’t been beaten far in his three runs this preparation, and he comes into this race after running fourth in the All-Star Mile with 59kg on his back. Had he have drawn better than 21, he would be a serious player under Craig Williams.
20. CONVERGE (3)
3yo G | T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott | J: Rachel King (49.5kg)
Converge is a serious galloper, having won the J.J. Atkins and Randwick Guineas at Group 1 level over 1600m. The three-year-old gelding gets in on just 49.5kg which is going to make the son of Frankel extremely hard to beat. The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained gelding will be out to give Waterhouse her eighth win in the famous race, while Bott is still in the search for his first. The Randwick Guineas winner has drawn beautifully in barrier three, which will allow Rachel King to have the dual Group 1 winner up handy to the speed and well within striking distance in the home straight. He was beaten out of sight in the Rosehill Guineas by Anamoe, but we aren’t convinced that the 2000m was his go, so the drop back to 1600m should see him bounce back.
2022 DONCASTER MILE EMERGENCIES
21. BANKERS CHOICE (15)
4yo G | T: Michael Moroney | J: Teodore Nugent (50kg)
Kiwi galloper Bankers Choice has not done much wrong in his two Australian starts, finishing fifth in the Blamey and then fourth in the George Ryder at Rosehill on March 19. The four-year-old son of Mongolian Khan had some very good form in New Zealand, having beaten Coventina Bay at Group 3 level in his last start at homebush. He could give this a shake if he gains a start.
22. KING MAGNUS (12)
6yo G | T: Robbie Griffiths & Michael de Kock | J: TBA (51.5kg)
After a terrific spring carnival, King Magnus has been only fair in his three autumn runs. Most recently, the six-year-old finished eight lengths behind Zaaki in the All-Star Mile, so he would need to improve drastically.
23. IRONCLAD (24)
6yo G | T: Will Clarken | J: Linda Meech (50kg)
The ever-consistent Ironclad looks unlikely to gain a start on Saturday, but even if he did, it would be hard to see him figuring. The son of Dubawi was a good winner of the Listed Matrice Stakes on Adelaide Cup Day at Morphettville. Not here.
24. OUR PLAYBOY (13)
4yo G | T: Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr | J: TBA (50kg)
Our Playboy very nearly won himself a spot in this race when second to Mr Mozart on Monday in the Doncaster Prelude at Newcastle. The son of Sebring is a noted wet track specialist, having trounced his rivals in the Group 3 Winx Guineas on the Sunshine Coast in July. He’d be in the finish we think.
2022 Doncaster Mile Selections & Betting Strategy
|$100 betting strategy|
|$50 each way||Converge ($9)|