Horsebetting.com provide punters with 2018 Doncaster Cup betting tips for the feature 2m 2f Group 2 event on Friday, 14 September. Last year’s runner-up Thomas Hobson looks a value bet to go one better and the pick of three in this renewal for Willie Mullins. Rivalling the master Irish handler in this stayers’ contest is David Simcock, who saddles two runners. Sheikhzayedroad is feared most on his fine record in this race, while Algometer is each-way value on his first crack at the trip. Learn more about why we’ve put these three up in our 2018 Doncaster Cup betting tips preview.Thomas Hobson up for the Doncaster CupWillie Mullins launches a three-pronged attack on the 2m 2f Group 2 Doncaster Cup on day three of the St Leger Festival this Friday (15:35), and the pick of his trio is last year’s runner-up Thomas Hobson. This eight-year-old gelding is a useful dual-purpose type who used to be trained by John Gosden, but has taken his form to new heights since moving across the Irish Sea.
After winning a 2m Grade A handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in March 2017, connections decided to switch Thomas Hobson back to the Flat and he made a very impressive return to action in that sphere when landing the Ascot Stakes by six lengths. He was a ready winner of that 2m 4f handicap at the royal meeting and Mullins then made the audacious move to turn him out just four days later in the Queen Alexandra Stakes over further.
He was beaten just a 1 1/4 lengths by Oriental Fox, but in the circumstances of quick-fire Royal Ascot runs this was a superb effort. Thomas Hobson was then aimed at the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup at York’s Ebor Festival and far from disgraced when beaten five lengths.
Connections then stepped him back up trip beyond 2m again for this race 12 months ago. Although ridden to lead entering the final furlong and headed within the last 120 yards, Thomas Hobson kept on and ran out a gallant 1 1/2 lengths runner-up to Desert Skyline.
It was has second career outing at Doncaster and he’s never been outside the first two in those. That course form is a clear plus as is Ryan Moore sticking with Thomas Hobson, as he presumably had the choice of rides from the Mullins mount.
The jockey has won this race three times in the last decade, though not for the trainer. Thomas Hobson also ran well in the ultra-competitive Melbourne Cup when beaten just 8 3/4 lengths by Rekindling in Australia’s race that stops a nation last November.
While he was getting weight from re-opposing stablemate Max Dynamite and finished almost six lengths behind him Down Under, that one hasn’t maintained his form this season. Thomas Hobson also has nothing to fear from his other stable companion Renetti, as he was well clear of him off level weights last time out in the Irish St Leger Trial.
If treated on the pick of his form and previous performances at the venue, Thomas Hobson has major claims of going one better than last year. Punters shouldn’t read too much into his Queen Alexandra run this season, because it was his first for 228 days, so he needed the run and was eased by Moore when it was clear he wouldn’t be winning.
As he’s racing off 3lb lower than 12 months ago on a mark of 107, a repeat of that effort puts Thomas Hobson bang in contention to land the spoils. He therefore heads the betting and our 2018 Doncaster Cup betting tips in what is an easier renewal on paper than last year.Sheikhzayedroad feared mostOpposing Mullins is in-form Newmarket handler David Simcock, who at the time of writing is operating at a 36 per cent strike rate. He knows what it takes to win this race, having saddled popular veteran Sheikhzayedroad to land the spoils two years ago and he is feared most.
Now aged nine, this son of Dubawi was also just a head behind Thomas Hobson in last year’s race and is still rated 3lb superior to him. Despite his advancing years, Sheikhzayedroad proved the old magic was still there when chasing home top French stayer Vazirabad in the Dubai Gold Cup in March, going down by just a length and nearest at the finish.
Although then last of eight in a Group 3 at Sandown, Sheikhzayedroad wasn’t disgraced when sixth to the British Isles best Flat endurance horse Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. He finished over three lengths ahead of Max Dynamite, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t confirm that form.
Sheikhzayedroad has since been given a break, which looks a smart move by connections and suggests another crack at Doncaster Cup glory has always been his intended target. His win and place at Town Moor mean he should be there or thereabouts again and so gives Thomas Hobson most to think about.Algometer appeals each-wayThe other Simcock runner is Algometer, who is untried over this trip but an eye-catching jockey booking and the way he shaped on his penultimate start suggest he looks each-way value. This five-year-old is still unexposed as a stayer after just three career outings beyond 1m 4f.
Algometer brings a career win and place strike rate of 50 per cent from 14 runs under rules to the table. Those placed efforts include when a three-quarters of a length runner-up to Marmello in the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Longchamp in July, where he got slightly hampered and was forced to switch at a key stage.
As he kept on well, however, it was a very solid effort given how the race panned out and suggests that staying races of this type may be the way forward. Although then disappointing last time out when eased in grade for the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, in-form jockey Oisin Murphy now takes over in the saddle.
Murphy comes into the St Leger Festival on a 25 per cent strike rate in the 14 days prior to it, so that’s an indicator that connections mean business. Algometer is also the highest rated in the line-up on an official mark of 112, so that all adds up to him looking each-way value if he gets the trip.Your Next Bet