31.3.17

Doncaster – on both sides of the globe

Arod and Endless Drama line up against each other tomorrow in Australia's Gr.1 Star Doncaster Mile, while in Britain the turf season opens at Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

Chemical Charge becomes Qatar Racing’s first runner of the new season when lining up in a conditions race at Doncaster on Sunday, a day after one of Australia’s feature races of the day has taken place at Randwick in Sydney (17.10 local time, 07.10 in UK).

A $3,000,000 handicap, the Star Doncaster Mile has attracted 20 runners, including the Chris Waller-trained pair of Arod (pictured right), who will be ridden by Glyn Schofield, and Endless Drama, the mount of Brenton Avdulla. Top weight Hauraki carries 57kg, and concedes 3kg to Arod and 4kg to Endless Drama.

Arod returns to the track where he was second in the Gr.3 Liverpool City Cup two starts ago, and although he was out of the money when put back up into Grade Two company for the Ajax Stakes next time out he was not beaten far. Endless Drama found the going too testing last time out in the Gr.1 Chipping Norton Stakes, but had previously run a fine race to be third to Winx in the Gr.2 Apollo Stakes.

Waller says: “Arod has drawn barrier seven, which should see him get a nice run in midfield. It’s a very open race and there will be plenty of pressure on so there should be good speed. He was caught wide last time out and had no luck.

“The track is drying nicely for Endless Drama, but barrier 20 is a bit of a concern. It’s a big field, and there should be some cover, although our hands are slightly tied with that draw. We’ve got a good jockey on our side and I’m sure he’ll make the right decisions.”

Pearl Congenial is also in action tomorrow. The Robert Smerdon-trained filly runs at Bendigo (15.00, 0.500 in UK) in a 10-runner handicap under claiming jockey Beau Mertens. The Pearl Bloodstock-owned filly won twice before Christmas, and was recently a promising second in a trial.

Chemical Charge, who won twice as a two-year-old, bids to break a string of seconds that were gained last season with success in a one-mile conditions race (15.55) that is set to be contested by eight runners. Oisin Murphy rides for trainer Ralph Beckett.

Also in action this weekend is Bless Him, who runs in a mile maiden at Chelmsford (18.15). Murphy will be in the saddle on the David Simcock-trained three-year-old who was second on his sole start to date.

Photograph of Arod - Laurence Squire