Yesterday was the first day of the St Leger Meeting at Doncaster and it was AP McCoy who made the headlines winning the Legends race in good style on Gannincus.
The Legends race was hotly contested and in the forum section I did give a tentative vote to Big Storm Coming. Hopefully you followed as he was third at a nice 25/1.
In the three picks I put up on the site the one that feature at Doncaster was a winner with Cotai Glory winning the Scarbrough Stakes. While on the forum I put up Bashiba in the other sprint handicap, who won under Frankie Dettori at 8/1.
13:55 Fillies Nursery Handicap
The card starts with a competitive 20-runner Nursery and Greenfyre looks to have been giving a fair mark to begin. On debut she was beaten by La Rioja, who has since won a Group 3 and there have been plenty of winners in behind too. She chased the leaders along at Goodwood when last seen finishing fourth behind Notary and that maiden has also produced winners. After watching yesterday it looked ideal to be prominent as hardly anything got into contention from rear. It may be worth sticking with this Richard Hannon filly off this sort of mark in this sort of contest.
Salvo won on debut but was put stratight into a Group 3, which was won by Besharah, who has proved to be a very useful two-yea-old. Back in this sort of race, she could find it a bit easier however the handicapper doesn’t look to have been too kind. She is racing on a quicker surface than she encountered at Ascot, which is an added plus. Nemoralia ran in two competitive maidens to start before getting off the mark at Kempton last month. She holds an entry for the Group 2 Rockfel later on in the month and would need to be running well here to take her chance at Newmarket. She’s highly thought of but at her overnight price I’d rather look for value. Top weights in nurseries do tend to go well.
Illegally Blonde and Alpine Dream have both had one start and won. They are both open to plenty of improvement and are the least exposed in the field. Alpine Dream is the most interesting representing William Haggas. She’s well-bred and her mark looks workable. Illegally Blonde has been off the track for 101-days, which would be the worry to why she’s been off that long. Won a maiden auction by a short head and was ridden prominently. She would need to improve to go close with some nice types in opposition.
Advice: Greenfyre (16/1 each-way)
14:30 Sceptre Stakes
This is a Group 3 contest for fillies and mares over 7f. It is another competitive heat with a good field. Fadhayyil sets the standard after winning the Listed City of York Stakes 20 days ago. She has the strongest form after placing in other Group races including the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. She looks the one to beat.
Kiyoshi gets the vote. She won this race last year but hasn’t won since and her form is quite patchy with her best effort coming in the Group 3 Summer Stakes over 6f. However Charlie Hills has got his horses tuned up at the right time in recent days, which he proved at Haydock in the Sprint Cup and yesterday with Cotai Glory, so she could prove to be slightly overpriced in this race. Lucky Kristale was ahead of her in the Summer Stakes and won the Listed Garrowby Stakes in decent enough fashion. She does have to prove herself at this trip but was staying on late in when at York to suggest she is in good form and this may suit her.
Mistrusting is looking to complete the hat-trick and is shortlisted. She has form that ties in with Magical Memory, which now looks strong. If running up to the same level as she did at York she could run into the frame. French runner Pearly Steph is interesting stepping down in trip. She won a Listed race over a mile at Longchamp and could have more. She is more of an unknown, so is worth mentioning.
At bigger prices Realtra is quite interesting for Roger Varian. Her last win came over course and distance in May. She won the Listed Dick Hern Fillies Stakes at Haydock by a narrow margin last time. She drops back in trip here and that could equally suit her but she may need to find a bit more. Lady Correspondent looks slightly fascinating coming into this off the back of an absence of 148-days. She won a Newmarket maiden on debut before finishing sixth of eight in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn won by Osaila, but she wasn’t beaten by too far. She still looks open to improvement and is the least exposed. If fully fit she may be one to note.
Advice: Kiyoshi (10/1 each-way)
15:05 Park Hill Stakes
A staying Group 2 contest over 1m6f for these fillies and mares. Koora is the one that stands out. She is a progressive three-year-old and is following a similar route that her dam Kithanga made, who ran in these same colours for Luca Cumani. The dam was second in this race back in 1994 and her daughter has an excellent chance to go one better. She got on the mark here on her second start before going to York to finish second behind Martlet in the Galtres Stakes; that form was given a boost when Marsh Daisy won a Listed race over in France. She has a few relations that have succeeded at this trip and her run in the Galtres suggested it would suit. Cumani won this last year with Silk Sari.
Gretchen just got up to deny Sahrawi in the Listed Chalice Stakes at Newmarket at the beginning of last month. She is another stepping up in trip but that wouldn’t be a worry being related to Irish St Leger winner Duncan – well he dead heated and is also related to Samuel, who won the Group 2 Doncaster Cup over 2m2f in 2010, so stamina shouldn’t be a problem. She is a galloping type, so this track should suit and she is also still on the up. She is the main danger to the selection.
Toe The Line was a very good fourth in the Ebor, which was a career best and that looked a good renewal race at a good gallop. This isn’t likely to be as quick, which could see her go close back against her sex. Last September she won the Listed Loughbrown Stakes at the Curragh over 2m under Fran Berry, so no worries about stamina. Fran Berry is booked to take the ride. Vive Ma Fille is worth a mention as she looks to be the pace angle into this race. Not much came from the rear yesterday and she could look to try and steal this from the front. She is exposed and hasn’t won since her debut but tactically it may suit her.Godolphin’s Hidden Gold drops in trip after finishing third to Max Dynamite in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup 20-days ago. She was previously second to Simple Verse, who has been supplemented for the St Leger, in the Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes in July. She has solid claims considering she has less to prove than most of these plus she is coming back into a race against her own sex, so expect her to go close.
Advice: Koora (9/2 each-way)
15:40 Two-Year-Old Stakes
This will be interesting to watch with 22 two-year-old’s going to post. Twin Sails is the top rated in this race after winning two from four starts and finishing fourth in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes behind Galileo Gold. Dean Ivory thinks he’ll be better on a quicker surface than what that race was ran on, so this should suit and he was reported to have come back with a problem, which has been reportedly resolved. He holds a few Group 1 entries and sets the standard on that run.
Humphrey Bogart would be next in after finishing fourth in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes and that is a race I quite the look of with Recorder and Bing Bang Bong. He won a maiden auction over course and distance at the start of last month, which is a positive. He also holds some big Group entries. Holy Grail has shown form throughout the season but she only ran ten days ago in a Listed race at Ripon finishing fourth of eight. She was a little tight for room in the run there, so may be worth giving another chance too. Pat Smullen is an eye-catching jockey booking for Richard Fahey and it could prove a shrewd one. A little bit of improvement may be needed to match what some of the others have shown.
With the majority of bookies paying four places I’m giving Gerrard’s Quest the nod in search for some value. Two starts ago he was narrowly beaten by Rouleau, who won the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton on Saturday. The horse he beat in his maiden was Time Warp and he has won four times since for Sir Mark Prescott, including a Listed race in France and is now rated 96. His last effort was his first over this trip and he shaped quite well staying on late. At the price he is I’d rather give him the chance with the solid form he has shown.
Majdool, Farkle Minkus, Mr Lupton and Candelisa all have appeal in this wide-open contest, which could see a boil over and a few hard luck stories. Candelisa ran well nine days ago in a nursery handicap at Hamilton only to be beaten by Fast And Furious. The return to a quicker surface should suit but has a bit to do giving weight away. Farkle Minkus ran in that race and was unlucky having been blocked for room repeatedly. He is worth giving another chance to after that unlucky run. Majdool finished fourth in a strong Newmarket nursery where the winner First Selection has won since but the drop back to 6f is a slight worry having got off the mark in good fashion over 7f. Mr Lupton was second to stablemate Lathom in the Super Sprint at Newbury, so can handle the big-field, which some of his rivals may be unable to do. He went down narrowly and won his group down the stands side. Up another furlong in trip is interesting and could be one for place purposes.
Advice: Gerrard’s Quest (14/1 each-way)
16:15 Fillies Handicap
California was the initial good thing of this race having won at Wetherby on debut. She is likely to improve from that one start but the form coming out of it does look rather modest. She has had 51-days off the track just to freshen up and possibly strengthen up a bit more. She has to be respected coming from a top yard in this sort of race and could potentially make a mockery of 81. Her current price is rather skinny, so I’d rather look elsewhere.
The one that looks to offer that bit of value against the Gosden filly is Roxy Star. Her last two efforts have come in better company than this and dropping into this sort of race should make life easier. All of her races have come over a mile or 7f, so the step-up in trip is something that looks questionable. However she is distantly related to an Oaks winners, which would give you hope that she would see out the trip. At the prices and down in grade she is worth giving another go and there could still be some improvement in their for the longer trip. She could also be a bet in the market without the favourite.
Abbey Angel won a handicap over a mile last September at Pontefract off this mark. She has slowly shown progress over this trip and her Ascot run two starts ago can be forgiven as it was part of the Shergar Cup. Her run on her last start showed she was going the right way for Richard Fahey and looks one to consider here. Yodelling and Cornish Path look the other two to concentrate on with the former being the most likely to trouble the judge. She won her first two starts on the all-weather at Kempton before running over in Meydan in the UAE 1000 Guineas. Her handicap debut at Nottingham came on soft ground but she weakened in the closing stages. Her mark has dropped 2lb for that and is running on quicker ground here both of which should benefit.
Advice: Roxy Star (6/1 each-way)
This race doesn’t have much appeal and Halation looks the one to beat. He won the Shergar Cup Mile under Jamie Spencer and has only gone up 2lb for that effort. He is stepping up in trip but he shaped well enough over 1m1f at Newmarket three starts ago to suggests that is should be in his radar. David Simcock won this last year with The Corsican, so warrants respect.
The main danger for me looked Elkaayed, who is a dual course and distance winner. He won here two starts ago and in that contest he possibly hit the front too soon but he battled on to win by short head. Back at a track he favours he can bounce back from a rather disappointing effort at Sandown. Grandeur is quite difficult to weigh up. He is running off a falling mark and looks well handicapped because of a few below par runs. Three starts ago he was fifth of eight in the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes but was only beaten by 2l and even if he runs to somewhere near that level he should go close considering the strength of the form. He has won off higher marks in Listed races previously, so this could prove to be a good race to get him back to form.
Don’t Stare has run in some top races in recent runs. He has only had three starts this season, so is quite lightly raced. James Fanshawe’s five-year-old is one to consider down in grade back at a track where he last recorded a win, which came in September of last year over this distance. He finished last in the Wolferton at Royal Ascot 82-days ago, so comes into this relatively fresh and despite being last he was beaten by 6l, in a race he was unfancied for by punters. Off Art hasn’t won since completing the hat-trick in 2013 but this looks relatively weak and he could compete for prize money. Tim Easterby has reached for the first time cheekpieces here to eek out that extra after he looked to return to some form at York when last seen. In that York race he was third of 15 and the winner of it Elhaame won a three-runner Conditions race yesterday.
Advice: Halation (4/1 Win)
This maiden on paper looks to revolve around Saeed Bin Suroor’s Very Talented, who has placed on both starts in two very strong maidens at Goodwood and in the Convivial at York. The latter of those runs looks the strongest in the formbook and if he runs up to that standard again then he would be very difficult to beat. He has plenty of Group entries next year, so this race would probably need to see him get off the mark.
The two others to have run Zapped and Smiley Bagel don’t really set much of a standard. The latter is likely to improve for the debut run but you’d be expecting a newcomer to be tuned up enough to follow Very Talented home.
Godolphin has another runner in this race that cost 650,000gns as a yearling. Linguistic runs from John Gosden’s yard and this runner looks well-bred. In time this colt is very likely to require 1m4f being related to some very nice horses including a French Group 2 winner. Two entries standout and they are in the Dewhurst and Racing Post Trophy. So far this year John Gosden has a 15% strike rate with runners on debut.
Fashaak is another one that is likely to need further in time considering he is a half-brother to staying type Teak who has won over 1m4f up to 2m5f. Richard Hannon’s strike rate with debutants is just a shade under 11%. He holds an entry to run in nine days time, so connections may be looking to use this as a learning curve for that run at Newmarket. The other newcomers are probably worth watching, especially Sailor’s Way. He comes from a yard where juveniles have required their first run.
Advice: No Bet
Where to start in this closing race? A 6f race with 20-runners taking part. Rex Imperator heads the betting and this previous Stewards Cup winner has slipped down the handicap until three starts ago when winning at Thirsk. He went up 2lb for that win and runs off this mark of 85 here. He’s raced in two competitive handicaps off this mark but hasn’t got involved in the mix, so will have to bounce back from those two slightly disappointing efforts. The latter can possibly be forgiven as he got no room when wanting out to challenge and subsequently lost momentum.
I’m putting forward two against the field here. Firstly Canyari whose last win came over course and distance two starts ago. That was a game battling success after leading before being heading by Adam’s Ale in the final furlong and then managed to fightback to win under Sammy Jo Bell, who rides again here. Only up 3lb for that success but was well-beaten at Goodwood only beating one home. This Dandy Man colt is better than that and returning to this track should hopefully show that. A 40-day break should mean he is fit and raring to go.
Paul Midgley’s Mississippi is back down to last his winning mark, which came at Ripon back in June. He’s been a bit off the boil since then but falling back this the mark looks likely to see him go well. An eye catching jockey booking too with Paul Hanagan getting the leg up. They have had four winners in 32 attempts between them and those will mainly be sprinters, so that isn’t too bad. Another thing to note is that all headgear has being removed after running in cheekpieces and then blinkers recently.
Stonefield Flyer was going to one of the selections based on his consistent form. However that has come in lower classes and his run in the Great St Wilfried didn’t inspire too much, although Phil Makin is back on board and know this horse well finishing second on him twice at Hamilton. Ruth Carr’s horses are going well at the minute and Vallarta is another fairly consistent type that doesn’t get beat far. Won at Ayr in June and is still 3lb higher for that success but has been running with credit.
The David O’Meara pair are worth watching. Sam James rides Regal Dan who is stepping down in trip from 7f. He’s yet to win from four attempts at this trip but has placed on three of those occasions. For his win at York he went up to this mark of 87 and has been running well from it. If he handles the shorter trip then his last two runs of this mark may make him difficult to beat. Stablemate Master Bond is also in the line-up and the booking of James Doyle suggests they could mean business with this six-year-old, who incidentally is the bigger priced of the pair. Very consistent for a 5f horse and tries this trip again after winning his maiden over this distance back in 2011. From six attempts he has one win and three placed efforts, so looks to be one to trouble the judge. If he is ridden prominently then he should be able to quicken well enough to get a few of these in trouble. One to watch in the betting.
Advice: Canyari (14/1 each-way)
Mississippi (20/1 each-way)