The opening day of the four-day St Leger meeting from Doncaster is today’s racing highlight and the meeting opens with a 6f Conditions contest for two-year-olds.
Lazuli (1.50) gave William Buick a winner on his return to the saddle at Newmarket last month and connections bypassed the Gimcrack at York to give their colt more time. The selection holds entries in both the Gp 2 Mill Reef and Gp 1 Middle Park Stales over today’s trip of 6f later in the month although they are likely to come too soon irrespective of today’s result. He looks an exciting prospect.
In the listed Scarborough Stakes Tis Marvellous (3.00) can reverse recent form from the Beverley Bullet with Queens Gift despite meeting Michael Dods’ filly on 1lb worse terms. The selection was all dressed up with nowhere to go for much of the last couple of furlongs on Humberside and looked a most unlucky loser. The hope is that compensation awaits. Equilateral and El Astronaute should ensure there is a decent gallop and that should assist Clive Cox’s five-year-old.
The Leger Legends event is one of the highlights of the week with some of the former greats of the saddle returning to competitive action including Kieren Fallon who rides Kilbaha Lady (3.35). The each way selection is drawn in the centre of the track in stall two but has been knocking on the door in handicaps of late and I expect Nigel Tinkler’s mare to give the former champion jockey a good spin.
I’m not convinced Asoof stays 12f although she does have the assistance of young Cieren Fallon in the saddle in the fillies’ handicap. Litigious disappointed at Salisbury last time but could easily bounce back if handling this quicker ground, but the vote goes to Makawee (4.10) dropping back in trip.
The selection may need to make her own running as she wouldn’t want this to turn into a two-furlong dash as she stays even further than this mile-and-a-half. The filly was not at her best over 2m at York last time but is taken to bounce back.
Elwazir (4.45) has it all to do on the official figures and must put behind a couple of disappointing runs but I thought he was a colt of real promise last season and he gets a speculative vote in the 10f Conditions Stakes for Owen Burrows
Appleby’s Loxley is much the best of the field on official figures but has been gelded since running poorly in Meydan in the spring. He may need softer ground.
At Kempton this evening I hope to see the first-time blinkers galvanise Cece Ceylon (6.00) who has shown little in three starts for Ralph Beckett but is bred to be much better than her opening mark of 62. She steps up to 7f for the first time this evening.
Strelka (7.00) is by Kingman but is a half-sister to Derby winner Workforce and it will be disappointing if she doesn’t lose her maiden tag at the third time of asking in the 12f Fillies’ Novice event. The filly didn’t have the run of the race at Chelmsford last time but is clearly no star although she should be capable of winning a minor event. The Frankel filly Royal Family should ensure a decent test and I hope it is a good evening for Beckett whose yard remain in such good form.
At Listowel in the Kerry National I feel if Movewiththetimes (4.15) stays this 3m trip he must have every chance off a mark of 135. He was going very well when coming down in the Galway Plate on his penultimate start before an easy winner at Killarney stepped up to a trip just shy of three miles. That wasn’t much of a race with the market leader disappointing, but he is potentially too well handicapped to ignore. He is 4/1 at BetVictor and I would be disappointed if, granted a clear round, he doesn’t go very close. The forecast yielding ground is ideal although do note he wouldn’t want any further significant rain.