Saturday 14th September

Off to Doncaster for the St Leger on Saturday, covered the first four races with my thoughts and what I will be backing on course… Sunday’s blog may be up just before racing as tomorrow could get messy!

Portland Handicap

  • 15 of the last 17 winners carried 8st 13lbs or more

  • 8 of the last 28 winners went off as favourite

  • 8 of the last 12 winners were 5-year-olds

  • Only 1 of the last 23 winners came from stalls 1-5

  • W Buick has won 2 of the last 3 renewals

  • C Hills & D Marnane have decent records in this race

A Momentofmadness won this race off a 4lbs higher mark last season and is again partnered with William Buick who has won this race twice in the last three years. He finished than two lengths behind Dakota Gold when sixth at York last time out but with the re-opposing Marnie James (2nd), Arecibo (3rd), Makanah (4th) and Watchable (5th) all lining up and racing off similar marks its hard to be confident in him reversing the form with them all to gain victory.

Bielsa is unbeaten in three career runs, all over slightly further than today, but on all occasions was ahead at the furlong pole and stayed on for victory so shouldn’t have any problem with this slightly shorter trip. One of these victories came here at Doncaster and with trainer Kevin Ryan in such fine form it is difficult to get away from her chances.

Justanotherbottle finished in ninth in that York race but was still only three lengths away from the winner and came out next time out to win at Sandown. He’s gone up 3lbs as a result but is a prior course and distance winner and has raced off both higher marks and in better races than today so is no forlorn hope to make the frame.

Park Stakes

  • 12 of the last 13 winners had previously won a Group race (8of which came in the same season)

  • 9 of the last 11 winners carried 9st 4lbs

  • There have only been 2x winners above 10/1 since 1998

Turbomaan is unbeaten in three when tackling todays’ trip and was only a half length behind Dukes Of Hazard when second in a Group 3 race over a mile at Goodwood last month. The winner went on to win the Group 2 Celebration Mile next time out so the form looks decent. Shine So Bright is the one they all have to beat following his victory over Laurens at York last month, yet he hasn’t been the most consistent so I am happy to take a chance on Turbomaan taking another step forward and getting the better of Andrew Balding’s runner.

Champagne Stakes

  • Only 1 of the last 22 winners have won at odds of over 8/1 (the biggest priced winner in almost 200 years has been 20/1)

  • There have been 8x maiden winners of this race since 1999

  • 12 of the last 15 winner had previously won at 7f

  • Godolphin have won 4 of the last 10 renewals

Both Charlie Appleby and Godolphin have excellent records in this race, the Newmarket trainer having won the race twice since 2013 and Godolphin winning four times in the last ten years. They run Royal Crusade who won well on debut at Newmarket last month, travelling strongly before putting the race to bed nicely. He will have to take another step forward but with Threat stepping up in trip and Juan Elcarno having won on heavy ground there is enough to suggest that he offers a bit of value compared to the hot favourite.

St Leger

  • 30 of the last 34 winners had finished in the top 3 in the race prior to this

  • 18 of the last 22 winners had previously won a Group race

  • 10 of the last 24 winners had previously placed in the top 4 in the Great Voltigeur Stakes

  • Favourites have provided 14 of the last 27 winners

  • Fillies have had 4x 1sts, 8x 2nds & 3x 3rds from 25 runners

  • J Gosden has won this race 4 times

  • A O’Brien has won this 6 times and goes for his 3rd in a row this year

First run in 1776, The St Leger is the oldest of the five classic races. It is the final leg of the English Triple Crown (following the 2000 Guineas and The Derby) and is the final classic of the flat season.

Aidan O’Brien has won this race six times since 2001 and fires three darts in his attempt at the hat-trick this year, following victories in 2017 for Capri and Kew Gardens last season. His two most likely challengers, backed up by the early market prices, look to be Sir Dragonet and Il Paradiso.

Sir Dragonet’s performance in The Chester Vase in May was particularly impressive, quickening clear to beat stablemate Norway by eight lengths. He then moved on to The Derby and despite only finishing fifth he was actually beaten less than a length in a bunched finish. The Derby form has been franked at the highest level by the likes of Japan and Circus Maximus, however the son of Camelot disappointed in a Group 3 race at The Curragh last time out. Although Aidan O’Brien has shown time and again his runners can bounce back, both of Sir Dragonet’s career victories have come on slower ground so I fear he may prove vulnerable with the forecast good-to-firm ground conditions.

Il Paradiso won over two miles on penultimate run and was only a couple of lengths behind Stradivarius in The Lonsdale Cup last time out. Also a winner over twelve furlongs, he looks to have both speed an stamina in his locker and with victories on both good and good-to-firm ground he looks to be the most likely of Aidan O’Brien’s runners to put up a challenge to the favourite.

A mention should also go to the Mark Johnston runner Sir Ron Priestley who has an incredible season winning five from six including a Group 3 race over fourteen furlongs at Goodwood last time out. Most victories have come following a battle with rivals in the final furlong so he has proven he can handle a fight to the finish and cannot be overlooked for an each way play.

That said, for the winner it is extremely difficult to look past the John Gosden trained Logician. The Newmarket trainer has four St Leger victories to his name and looks to have an excellent chance of gaining a fifth with the unbeaten Frankel colt. He has been visually impressive in all four career runs to date, winning each in striking fashion including when beating the re-opposing Nayef Road and Norway in the Great Voltigeur at the York Ebor Festival last time out, effortlessly moving to the lead with two furlongs to go and seeing his race out comfortably. Mentioned as ‘tailor-made’ for this race by his trainer, he looks worthy of his place at the head of the market and is once again partnered by jockey Frankie Dettori who himself has won this race five times and bids for an incredible fifteenth Group 1 victory of the season.

In what may seem as an obvious choice, I simply feel that Logician is the best horse in the race. The one concern I would have is the possible tactics employed by Aidan O’Brien’s runners meaning that we get a race that isn’t truly run, however Frankie Dettori is a master when it comes to winning the big races so with him in the saddle, and barring any incidents or accidents, we should see Frankie and Logician visiting the winners’ enclosure today.

16:10

  • R Hannon has won this race 3 times since 2012

  • A Atzeni has ridden the winner twice in the last three years


 

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