SATURDAY September 12th:
With the Met Office at their most pessimistic, rain, even storms, threaten to have the last word on an otherwise quality day’s racing. With any luck dire conditions will not surface until the last tickets have been ripped up and the boards wiped clean. However, that cannot be relied upon. Things could turn messy on the track and off.
Leopardstown stages the Irish Champion Stakes, which promises to provide a cracking renewal, but it could easily be blighted by the weather. If he takes part – and options for him are shrinking at this comparatively late stage of the season – Golden Horn gets the chance to set the record straight after a largely unfathomable defeat by Arabian Queen in the Juddmonte. A line through last year’s victor, The Grey Gatsby, gives Free Eagle something to find with Golden Horn, but improvement from the lightly-raced Free Eagle should not be discounted. He also looks more likely to cope with rain-softened ground than Golden Horn and Gleneagles. Like many of today’s features it promises to be a fascinating race to watch, but one where the result is hard to predict. Although why the authorities allow the Irish Champion and the St Leger to clash requires some explaining. However, we can only juggle with what is put before us, and no one is forcing us to bet.
DONCASTER: 2.00: The day starts with a strongly fancied Godolphin runner bidding to catapult himself into Classic reckoning for next year. Emotionless created a major impression on debut and takes a leap in class now to contest the Group 2 Champagne Stakes. That said, this year’s race has fallen apart to an extent and, although it is asking a lot from a once-raced maiden winner to step up to this level in one stride, word suggests he should get away with it. Those he takes on do not look genuine Group 2 performers so the highly-touted son of Shamardal remains the selection. It seems bookmakers are well aware of the regard in which he is held and have priced him accordingly. As we don’t know he will act on a softer surface, changing ground would be a concern.
3.10: The chances of Limato will depend on the ground and his ability to see out an extra furlong. Progressive and genuine Safety Check and what looks like a revitalised Ivawood look less complicated alternatives. Ivawood represents class; Safety Check has a solid profile that is hard to knock.
3.45: It seems Ballydoyle is undecided as to which is their strongest representative in this year’s St Leger. Again, the ground looks sure to play a major part. Said to be on the upgrade, Bondi Beach seems their preference if conditions remain as they are. There was little between him and Storm The Stars last time so once again it might be tight unless forked lightning intervenes. Having fallen from favour in the market mid-week, anticipating easy ground, Order Of St George has regained a prominent position and is currently disputing second favouritism with his stable companion. The three at the head of the market seem closely matched – Fields Of Athenry looking the only other serious contender. Nominating a bet for this at present would seem unwise.
DONCASTER September 11th:
Good racing at the Yorkshire track, but it’s tricky to decipher with only Gutaifan looking like a solid betting prospect:
1.55: It is hard to look beyond Prix Robert Papin winner Gutaifan here. Unpenalised for that Group 2 success and subsequently second to probably the best two-year-old seen so far in Shalaa in the Group 1 Prix Morny, his chance is obvious and he ought to win.
2.30: Squeezed out of the Ebor (his target for the season) by his rating, Battersea gets a chance at compensation now in a tight handicap. This is a race he can win, but fast ground is the key and rain is forecast for the area (expected later), so it might pay prospective punters to wait until race time. It is not hard to identify plenty of dangers.
DONCASTER September 10th
1.55: Thought of as a Group filly before she raced, three runs on and Kempton maiden winner Nemoralia has a way to go to justify the hype. An imposing sort it is entirely possible she has needed time to grow into her frame. It is equally possible, judging by her pedigree and the way she floated over the surface at the Sunbury track, that she is a filly that will shine on an artificial surface. A mark of 90 may look generous with the aid of hindsight; however, for now, on what she has achieved it looks about right. She is likely to attract market support and may be too good for what looks average opposition. Unexposed Alpine Dream is the one to fear most.
2.30: It remains to be seen whether Lucky Kristale will be as effective over seven as she has been since being dropped back to six. The trip is clearly ideal for Fadhayyil who, after a decent attempt in the Guineas before running out of petrol, and her latest win and her second in the Jersey, lines up with the best form on offer. Mistrusting is very much on the upgrade but faces her stiffest test so far, whilst the dark horse is autumn winner from last year Lady Correspondent who blew up on her solitary start of this season in the Nell Gwyn but still showed enough to warrant respect now.
3.05: We know Hidden Gold will be staying on at the end here and suspect Koora will improve for the extra yardage. They could easily emerge as the principals.
3.40: It could be a case of playing it again Sam with course winner Humphrey Bogart here as he looks to be reasonably treated by race conditions. Not disgraced when fourth to the useful Recorder last time, he hails from a yard that traditionally mop up in these kind of events. This looks a shrewd piece of placing as he receives weight from sixteen of the intended twenty two runners and arguably lines up with the best form.
DONCASTER September 9th
2.00: Although he would not have beaten Tasleet in a valuable sales event last time at York, Ferryover was slightly unfortunate in running as the breaks failed to materialise. Whichever way you shake it that remains strong form and may be enough to allow this son of Pastoral Pursuits (for whom easy ground would be a bonus but is not guaranteed) to gain compensation. Unexposed and well entered up Tidal Wave could represent the biggest threat and looks an interesting betting prospect in his first venture in a handicap. He does hold Group 1 entries and could easily be a cut above these. Consistent Carrington makes up the trio to concentrate on.
2.30: Venturous looked like a colt with a future based on his win at Newmarket last month, and he is taken to build on that now. A loose line through Arithmetic gives him the edge over Newbury scorer Storm Rising, whilst form horse Elronaq returns to action after making little impact in the Richmond at Goodwood and will again be tested against this opposition.
3.00: With the old boys being wheeled out once more in this sprint it would be nice to find a confident alternative to Kingsgate Native and Medicean Man. However the opposition is hardly bombproof. Cotai Glory is a precarious proposition as is the frustrating Steps. Either could win if the wind is blowing in the right direction, whilst the uncomplicated Monsieur Joe should run his race and is the each-way selection.
4.10: Word has it that Akeed Champion is finally on the verge of realising the promise he showed as a juvenile. Winner of his last two starts (dossed last time and value for considerably more than the bare win), he remains well-treated from a mark of 84 and is fancied to register the hat-trick.