The final classic of the season the St Leger is the highlight of the racing weekend in Britain although there is also the small matter of Irish Champions weekend across the Irish Sea.
We begin our preview at Doncaster where the unbeaten Logician is a shade of odds on at 10/11 with BetVictor to extend his winning sequence to five, having landed the Gt Voltigeur Stakes at York last time, a race that is generally regarded as the premier trial for the Leger.
The grey is a half-brother to a near 2m winner and there is every chance that this son of Frankel will stay this extended mile-and-three-quarter trip. But, at the price, I will look for an each way alternative.
Jockey Franny Norton is in his 50th year and has never ridden a Group 1 winner let alone had classic success. His mount Sir Ron Priestley (3.35) is guaranteed to stay, having scored over this trip at Goodwood last time, and at 11/1 with BetVictor can reward each way support. The selection lacks the class of Logician, or indeed Derby fourth Sir Dragonet, but has won five of his six starts this term all on good or faster ground and might be a shade overpriced.
In the opening 5f 110y Portland Handicap Bielsa (1.50) can reward each way support at 13/2 with BetVictor who are paying five places on one of the most prestigious sprint handicaps on the calendar. The selection has won all three starts over 6f but led two furlongs out at Thirsk last time which suggested this slightly shorter trip should not be an inconvenience.
Threat did us a favour in the Gimcrack at York last time and there is every chance that he will improve for today’s extra furlong in the Gp 2 Champagne Stakes. That said his 3lbs penalty doesn’t help matters and I was impressed with the debut success of Royal Crusade (3.00) and hope to see Charlie Appleby’s colt – 7/2 with BetVictor – take this step up in class in his stride.
Ben Vrackie failed to stay in the Ebor last time and can be slowly away which certainly won’t be a help around the tight turns of Chester. I hope to see Durston (2.05) get back to winning ways having looked all over the winner at Newbury last time before fading over slightly further on soft ground. The selection is 4/1 at BetVictor.
At Chelmsford I would be disappointed if New Angel (3.55) didn’t go one better than when runner up to Farzeen – ran Doncaster Friday – at Kempton over 7f. The filly was slowly away on debut but stayed on well under hands and heels and this step up to a mile should suit.
Mogul (3.05) must overcome the worst of the draw in the Gp 2 event over a mile at Leopardstown and he will do well to get to the front as he did at the Curragh last time when making all. That said he is potentially very smart and is just 12/1 at BetVictor for next year’s Derby.
In the 12f Group 3 I feel Broad Street (3.40) can reward each way support at 12/1 with BetVictor. The lightly-raced 4-y-old has only had three career starts and met trouble in running before staying on over C&D last time. He is entitled to come on for the run – which was only the third of his life – and likely market leader Mount Everest is making a belated seasonal reappearance.
In the Irish Champion Stakes, I hope to see Madhmoon (4.15) reverse Derby form with Anthony Van Dyck and give the irrepressible Kevin Prendergast Group 1 success. The colt disappointed in the Irish Derby on his penultimate start but bounced back to winning ways over a mile here last time despite being slowly away. He cannot afford to be as tardy from the stalls in this company. At 7/1 with BetVictor I feel he can reward each way support.
On Sunday Pinatubo (3.35) is taken to maintain his unbeaten record in the Gp 1 National Stakes for William Buick and Charlie Appleby at the Curragh. The colt put up the best juvenile performance of the season when winning the Gp 2 Vintage Stakes by 5L at Goodwood last time and the runner up – Positive – has since landed the Gp 3 Solorio Stakes.