Day 3 of the Doncaster St Leger meeting and undoubtedly the best so far in quality and competitiveness.
Three Group races and a fierce handicap are available on the telly, so we’ll start with a look at the Group 2 Doncaster Cup Stakes at 3.35, which has attracted a field of eight, 37% of which are supplied by a certain Mullins W.
Chief among those three is last year’s second Thomas Hobson, which comes here in better form than a year ago, having finished a close 5th in the Irish St Leger Trial race, just 3 weeks ago.
This looks by far the best form on offer so it’s Hobson the choice, at 15-8.
Proceedings begin with the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes at 1.50, a 7f Group 3 for the laydees, with a field of nine headed by John Gosden‘s Laugh Aloud, who came back from a long absence to run a moderate 4th of 6 at Sandown just 13 days ago. With the dreaded ‘bounce’ factor undoubtedly in play here, we’ll give this one the Spanish Archer and suggest an each way bet on Dean Ivory‘s inmate Eirene.
This 3-y-o was beaten a neck by today’s second favourite Anna Nerium in a Group 3 earlier this season and has a 3lb pull this afternoon. Lightly race since, as not to be risked on firm ground, Eirene cantered away with a Conditions event at Chelmsford City two weeks ago, proving her well-being in the process. Let’s put it this way, if Anna Nerium is a 4-1 shot, then we must recommend an each way bet on Eirene at 16s – n’est pas?
The third Group race is at 2.25 in the shape of the Wainwrights Flying Childers, a 5f dash for 2-y-os, which sees Rumble Inthejungle installed as the 2-1 favourite after his victory in the Molecomb at Goodwood.
However, third in that race after suffering interference at the start and failing to act on the course was Archie Watson‘s Soldier’s Call, who has since gone on to run away with a Group 3 at Chantilly two weeks ago.
On this more conventional track and very fighting fit, we think this is the bet, each way, at 6-1.
At 3.00 the William Hill Mallard Handicap, over the Leger trip is predictably tricky at 4-1 the field, so we suggest each way bets on Austrian School at 9-1 and last year’s Ebor hero Nakeeta at a juicy 16-1.
Although not televised, there is also a Listed race on the card which catches our eye – the Weatherbys Global Stallions App Flying Scotsman Stakes at 4.05.
Apart from having a very silly name, this race sees the reappearance of the next Pegasus (allegedly) in Sangarius, which is trading at an ultra-skinny 4-5.
This son of Kingman may well hose up, but in a nine runner field, we are going to recommend an each way punt on Brian Meehan‘s best 2-y-o Athmad at 7-1. and trust James (Popeye**) Doyle to do the biz.
Back tomorrow for the big ‘un.
Thomas Hobson 3.35 Doncaster win @ 15-8
Eirene 1.50 Doncaster e/w @ 16-1
Soldier’s Call 2.25 Doncaster e/w @ 6-1
Austrian School 3.00 Doncaster e/w @ 9-1 (4 places)
Nakeeta 3.00 Doncaster e/w @ 16-1 (4 places)
Athmad 4.05 Doncaster e/w @ 7-1
* ‘Goodnight Irene’ – Lead Belly (1933) et al
** The French Connection – 1971