Final day of the Doncaster St Leger meeting this afternoon, with the eponymous race kicking off at 3.35.
The famous ‘dead eight’ are due to line up, with Logician installed as the 11-10 favourite on the strength of an unbeaten campaign culminating in an easy win in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last month.
Difficult to find any holes in this one’s form, although his stamina for today’s trip has to be taken on trust and, at that sort of price, taking anything on trust has to be a negative.
One runner in the field that’s absolutely guaranteed to get every single yard is the apparent second (or even third) string in Aiden O’Brien‘s bow and that one is called Il Paradiso.
Easy 12 lengths win in a Curragh handicap in July presaged a potential big improver and that was borne out in August with a sterling effort against no other than the unbeatable Stradivarius. It was only in the last half furlong of the two miles that Il Paradiso was finally overwhelmed and it was no disgrace to finish just a nose behind the consistent yardstick that is Dee Ex Bee.
At 10-1 we think this is the value each way bet in this race, especially with P B Beggy making a habit of upsetting apple-carts on his rare mounts.
The card starts with the statutory ‘impossible’ bookmaker sponsored sprint, this one being called the William Hill Portland Handicap at 1.50.
As per, this race has the clear look of ‘who’s turn is it today?’ with intertwining form lines all over the place, but we’ll have a crack and recommend each way bets on Equitation at 14-1 and Show Stealer at an artisan 50-1.
The Hird Rail Group Park Stakes at 2.25 sees the return to action of our previous Preview winning selection Shine So Bright, which was given a storming ride from the front by James Doyle. In the absence of what would have been our selection (Turjomaan), at 4-5 there’s not much to do except sit this one out.
At 3.00 the Pommery Champagne Stakes takes place, with a field of just 5 and another hot favourite in the shape of Threat at 11-8.
Saddled with a penalty for winning the Gimcrack last time out and stepping up to 7f for the first time, we’ll apply the Spanish Archer to this one and opt for Juan Elcano at 4-1 instead.
Just two runs for Kevin Ryan‘s charge have resulted in a debut win and a close second in a Group 2 after a slow start and this son of Frankel has the distinct look of an improver. He’ll do for us under Andrea Atzeni.
The ITV cameras are also at Chester and Chelmsford for one race at each track and the Sportpesa Stand Cup Stakes at 2.05 at the Cheshire venue is the race that interests us the more.
We are paid to have opinions and our opinion on this race is that Manuela De Vega should be long odds on – but it isn’t.
Ralph Beckett‘s filly has solid Group race form, is proven on track and ground and has vastly superior form than any of her 3 rivals. Time to take a deep breath and go all in at 6-4.
The luxdeco.com Elsenham Handicap at 2.45 is the chosen race at Chelmsford City and in this fiercely competitive handicap we think the potential improver Turn ‘N Twirl is overpriced at a juicy 18-1.
Just six runs, with the latest being a ‘hands and heels’ win at Kempton, this young lady has the services of the excellent Megan Nicholls and could cause a surprise – each way is de rigeur.
A busy day – let’s hope it’s a profitable one.
Il Paradiso 3.35 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Equitation 1.50 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (7 places @William Hill)
Show Stealer 1.50 Doncaster 0.5 e/w @ 50-1 (7 places @William Hill)
Juan Elcano 3.00 Doncaster 2pts win @ 4-1
Manuela De Vega 2.05 Chester 8pts win @ 6-4
Twist ‘N Twirl 2.45 Chelmsford 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (4 places)