The 2014 St Leger looks the pick of the bunch on a great day of racing.
Doncaster plays host to a competitive race card on Saturday, September 13th with the annual St Leger race expected to be the highlight of the day. There will be 14 runners at 3.50 all hoping to win this prestigious race.
The action starts at 2.05 and with all races being nicely supported, it should be a fantastic day of racing.
2.05 – Champagne Stakes
Hard to get away from the claims of Estidhkaar after he slammed subsequent Solario Stakes winner Aktabantay at Newmarket last month. That win came with plenty of ease underfoot, but he’d previously handled lively ground well when landing a Newbury maiden, and the conditions at Doncaster should pose no problems whatsoever. War Envoy has become disappointing, so the biggest challenge is likely to come from one of Belardo, a winner in listed company at Newbury, and Gimcrack fourth Glenalmond, who did well to finish so close at York given his lack of experience, and ought to have no problem staying the extra furlong here on that evidence.
2.40 – Ladbrokes Portland Handicap
This has a reputation of being impossible to solve, and that fact is exacerbated by the use of this intermediate trip, which seems to suit some horses much more than others. One who probably falls into that category is Seeking Magic, who seems to find the minimum trip just too sharp, but isn’t the strongest finisher over 6f. He caught the eye when tenth in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, fading late having made the running, and the drop back in trip will help him finish much closer to Intrinsic and Muthmir here. Of that pair, Muthmir appeals at the one to progress furthest, and appears likely to make his mark in Group company sooner rather than later. His win in the Dash at York was not only visually impressive, but was immediately franked for wins in competitive events for the pair who chased him home on the Knavesmire. Goldream reopposes now, but is only a pound better off, and the Haggas runner is confidently expected to maintain the status quo.
Alternative: Seeking Magic
3.15 – OLBG Park Stakes
Aljamaheer is the best of these on form, and may well utilise this drop in class to get back to winning ways, but he didn’t impress with his demeanour (hung left) in the July Cup, and the fitting of headgear hardly adds to confidence. He looks opposable on balance, and Gregorian appeals most of the others after pushing Breton Rock hard at Newbury last time. He’s ideally suited by this 7f trip, and won’t mind how the ground rides, so is hard to knock. That Is The Spirit was impressive a couple of times in the spring, and hasn’t been disgraced up in class since. He’s got a chance of dominating here, if able to master Ansgar in the early stages, and is capable of providing a minor shock under such circumstances.
Alternative: That Is The Spirit
3.50 – Ladbrokes St Leger
It could be argued that this is a very hard race to call, and that would be very true if Roger Varian makes good on a threat to withdraw Kingston Hill, but I’d be surprised if the trainer did so given the prestige involved, and he is essentially a class above his rivals here, with fast ground much less of a concern than Varian suggests. He comfortable holds Romsdal on Derby form, and the ground was firm enough at Epsom, so it would be a shock if the Gosden runner, a disappointment in the King George, could reverse form. It may be that the best outsider also hails from Clarehaven Stables. Forever Now took care of both Alex My Boy and King’s Fete at Goodwood, but is a bigger price than the latter, which makes no sense. He had excuses (caught wide of favoured rail) when behind two of these in the Bahrain Trophy, and looks just the type to be suited by the demands of this race, so can reward each-way backers.
Selection: Kingston Hill
Alternative: Forever Now
4.25 – Napoleons Casinos And Restaurants Handicap
Not the most competitive field in terms of numbers, but several interesting runners all the same, with Bold Sniper and Mighty Yar trying to atone for expensive flops in the Ebor. The latter was too free there, but is building a rather patchy profile for my liking and is passed over as a result. It’s a little easier to forgive Bold Sniper his York effort as he was declared without his usual hood, and his lacklustre run may be attributed to the lack of headgear. I’m not wholly convinced, however, and much prefer Mount Logan, who represents a yard which has already struck twice at this meeting, and remains on an upward curve having posted a career best at Haydock last time. He took time to get motoring there, and Doncaster’s long straight and final climb should help in that regard, and he appeals as the most likely winner. Wigmore Hall was a tad disappointing behind Glenard at York on his latest start, and most will abandon him now up in the weights again. It would be harsh to judge him on that effort, in my opinion, as the race didn’t suit his grinding style, and he’s no forlorn hop if getting an end-to-end gallop here.
Selection: Mount Logan
Alternative: Wigmore Hall
5.00 – Agriargo UK Tractor Challenge Nursery
Marshall Jennings is ridden by Richard Hughes, but I’m inclined to take a chance on another Hannon runner in this nursery, especially as the aforementioned colt is apt to take a strong hold in his races, and wouldn’t be sure to appreciate the stiff mile as a result. On the other hand, such a test of stamina is right up the street of Silver Quay, who positively bolted up on his nursery debut at Salisbury, having been backed as if defeat was out of the question. There’s more to come from him, while Rotherwick didn’t need to improve to land a maiden at Beverley last time, but has solid form in maidens, and is entitled to be thereabouts on balance.
Selection: Silver Quay