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“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

Doncaster’s Leger meeting Day 1 TV Races

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

The Coat of Arms of Sir Anthony St. Leger KG
The Coat of Arms of Sir Anthony St. Leger KG

The twilight of the Flat season is creeping in, with talk about the Arc and Melbourne Cup betting markets, and emails containing the words “Breeders Cup” become increasingly prevalent. The chill draught of a disappearing summer; ground that veers between motorway and bog; handicap marks receiving their annual dusting off, all suggest that “The Sticks” are approaching fast. So today we have the denouement of the Flat Season That Never Was – The Doncaster St Leger meeting.

Talking of crowd risk assessments in the North of England, and possibly flawed long-term thinking, here are my brave decisions…

1:40 DONCASTER bet365 Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 7f

Most tipsters seem to believe that this is a two-horse race between ATASER and MAYAAS with the latter now having a 3lb pull – and being tried in cheekpieces for the first time. However, I quietly fancy TWILIGHT SONG who was third on his 6f Windsor debut, at odds of 100/1. He then went on to win at Salisbury and he benefits from William Buick in the plate. Any price better than 7s. Godolphin’s 2yos do well here, so AL WATAN is also of interest if you can get 10s or better.

TWILIGHT SONG e/w AL WATAN e/w (10s or better)

1:55 KEMPTON (AW) Unibet Extra Place Offers Every Day Handicap Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 1m3f

OMNIVEGA is 2/3 on Kempton’s AWT and 3/4 if you add in Lingfield, so he does like the surface. However his three wins have all been over further,  but he has made the frame at this distance before and if he gets a decent pace I see no reason why he shouldn’t win.


2:10 DONCASTER bet365 Scarbrough Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (2yo+) 5f

The trends have it down to three – MOSS GILL – ROCKET ACTION – MAKANAH. On the face of it, ROCKET ACTION is a crazy price, given he was running in a Listed race LTO at Deauville, coming a respectable short-neck 2nd of 12, having met traffic 2f from home.

Robert Cowell is 3w – 3p – 9r and he has I think been patient with this one. However, he thought him good enough to try the King’s Stand behind Battash, and with similar conditions underfoot, in a far weaker race, he looks super e/w value.

MOSS GILL was third in the Nunthorpe and he finished ahead of Art Power, who went on to run well (4th) in the Haydock Sprint Cup. That level of the form should certainly be good enough to win this Listed race – providing he gets a strong pace.


2:25 KEMPTON (AW) Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap Cl3 (3yo+ 0-95) 1m

Up 7lbs for a facile Salisbury win LTO, ITKAANN is attempting a hat trick, which given his earlier C&D win he might well succeed. It wasn’t the distance he won by at Salisbury, (under 2l), but that he had been off for almost a year, that it was his handicap debut, that he remained away from the two race leaders throughout and then simply did enough at the furlong marker to put the race to bed. His connections can have some real sport over the next few weeks, as he is fresher than most and has real ability.


2:40 DONCASTER Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes Cl5 (3yo+ 0-70) 1m

On trends, I have it down to four, LATE ARRIVAL – FLYING DRAGON – MYKONOS ST JOHN – CATCH MY BREATH. They’ll all handle the ground and the connections are all known quantities.

LATE ARRIVAL might turn out to be one of those unlucky “Podium Pat” horses, always getting a prize, but never having the honours. There he was at Yarmouth LTO, just about to hose it when he was worn down and caught on the line. They were still over 3l clear of the field.

At the bottom of a tight weigh band, MYKONOS ST JOHN catches the eye as does his partnership with Jim Crowley for the first time. He is being backed this morning and I had missed the widely available 14s and he is now heading for 10s. I’m not sure he likes AWT – so you can ignore that form. I just winder if Jamie might not have this one laid out? So unlike him…

By the by – this race title was the course’s justification for giving the race day the rather lame “Legends” soubriquet. It was a race for retired jockeys like Luke Harvey and Brian Harding – and I can only imagine that they decided to save themselves some fees but couldn’t be arsed to change the name. Shame.


3:15 DONCASTER bet365 Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f

JUBILOSO wouldn’t surprise me, as she looks as though she needs to come back in both class and distance, and a Group 3 over 7f rather than a G2 over a mile (she was disaapointing when 3/1 JF for the  Duke of Cambridge, eased down to trail in last), might be the solution.

MUBTASIMAH makes a lot of lists, providing one ignores that LTO Chelmsford run. She missed the break entirely and didn’t look as though she enjoyed the surface. She runs well fresh and has had a nice summer break.

I have it between those two … hmm


3:45 DONCASTER Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m2f

Darts out, pins ready, blindfolds on. The trends say that the last twelve winners were rated 91-103, aged 3-5, and had at least 4 career starts.

That seems as good a place to start as any and leaves us with five. FOX POWER – RISE HALL – CARADOC – DEREVO – STARCAT.

Stoutey has a great record in this race but  DEREVO is 12lbs shy of his last winning mark, and at 6/1 fails to be even e/w material. CARADOC was backed like an unbeatable good thing at Ascot LTO but finished 11th of 12 having hung badly. He’s been dropped 2lbs for that dismal race, and with three wins over the distance and Tom Marquand in the plate makes 7/1 a plausible price. STARCAT was not good enough for the 2000 Gns – but was 7th. He might have found the ground too soft and the pace too stiff in the Britannia Stakes, but was a decent fifth at Goodwood behind Junkanoo when stepped up to this trip and the newly-applied tongue-tie might make all the difference.


4.15pm 5f Class 4 Handicap


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