Doncaster St Leger Festival Preview And Betting Tips - Day Four
Welcome Offer banners Welcome Offer banners

Doncaster St Leger Festival Preview And Betting Tips - Day Four

It's the main event at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon - the St Leger Stakes, the final British Classic of the season. Can Pyledriver complete a fantastic rags-to-riches story of success for William Muir and Martin Dwyer by taking the Town Moor contest? The action at Doncaster (1.15pm-5.15pm) also includes the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, the valuable Portland Handicap and the Group 2 Park Stakes. The Racing Post return with their betting preview and tips for the final day of the St Leger Festival.



Place a non in-play single bet of £/€10+ (£/€10+ E/W) on the St Leger and get a £/€10 free bet if your selection loses and Pyledriver wins the race.


1.15 - Sky Sport Racing HD Virgin 535 Handicap (1m)

A drop back to this mile distance brought some further improvement from Matthew Flinders three weeks ago and the feeling persists that Ed Walker's three-year-old has further improvement to come. He needs to appear on any shortlist.

Any rain falling would be a plus-factor for the class-dropping top-weight King Ottokar, while a reproduction of his French Listed success earlier this summer would push Teston into the mixture.

Aweedram was in good tune before leaving Alan King's yard last month and there's no reason not to suspect he can go well again for new connections, with in-form claimer Ray Dawson taking a valuable 5lb off his back.

MAGICAL MORNING won a hot novice event over this C&D in June for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori (four subsequent winners amongst the beaten horses). He was then well held in Listed company at Newmarket before a low-key handicap introduction at Goodwood (1m2f, good) at the Glorious meeting.

He's been given some time off since and this return to a flat track ought to play to his strengths. The assessor has dropped him 2lb and he might launch a big afternoon for that man Dettori on Town Moor.

Selection: Magical Morning @ 4/1

Next Best: Teston @ 10/1


1.50 - bet365 Champagne Stakes (Group 2, 7f)

They've won all three races they have contested and it seems likely Albasheer and CHINDIT are going to duel for favouritism ahead of this rise in class in the Champagne Stakes.

The Owen Burrows-trained Albasheer made a striking debut over C&D in July when proving far too strong for another Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned contender in Alablaq (favourite), racing clear to win by more than six lengths.

He's got lots of scope for better and with Jim Crowley taking over in the plate this afternoon, a big challenge seems assured.

Chindit had defeated the same rival in Alablaq on their respective debuts over track and trip in early July, albeit in less spectacular fashion; scoring by a comfortable length-and-three-quarters. He then moved on to Ascot and took a Listed contest there over 7f on the same day Albasheer was launching his career here.

That was a more strongly run event and Pat Dobbs' partner came through the pack with a fantastic run to win it impressively. The runner-up Cobh was a Listed winner next time, while the second and third also scored on their next starts. It's the best form on offer and that experience is a major plus-factor for Richard Hannon's colt.

These are an exciting pair and a real battle may ensue, bit Chindit could just be that bit wiser at this stage of their respective developments.

Mujbar impressed on second start when powering clear in a Newmarket novice and has place claims, while Devious Company twice finished second in this grade earlier this summer but needs to step up again after successive defeats in big sales races at York and Naas last month in a three-day spell.

Selection: Chindit @ 85/40

Next Best: Albasheer @ 2/1

2.25 - bet365 Portland Handicap (5½f)

He won this contest off a mark of 99 in 2018 and last year A Momentofmadness found only the Group 1 winner-in-the-making Oxted too strong. Having produced a solid run at Goodwood last time out, it won't come as any sort of shock if he can rise another challenge from this very workable mark.

Wedding Date has finished second in three of her seven starts this summer. The filly routinely contests tough handicaps and acquits herself well. She was not beaten all that far in the Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood and is rated 2lb lower now with Theodore Ladd back in the saddle. She's one of those at a bigger price that could find the frame.

MERAAS was jostling for favouritism in that Stewards' Cup and Mark Johnston's runner was another to finish close-up in the pack. The Oasis Dream colt had earlier been making solid progress, winning three of his first four starts this season. His subsequent effort in an apprentice race at York is best overlooked and with Joe Fanning returning now, they should get in the shake-up in this fiendish contest.

Selection: Meraas @ 12/1

Next Best: Wedding Date @ 25/1


3.00 - bet365 Park Stakes (Group 2, 7f)

Limato won this race in 2015 before going onto July Cup success and just missing out on the Nunthorpe the following summer. His success here was made possible by a sublime turn of foot. Hendy Candy's star showed he retains his ability when winning the Group 3 Criterion at Newmarket on his comeback in June and is a live contender to regain this prize; but no eight-year-old has won the Park Stakes and his younger rivals are plentiful.

The mare One Master joins Limato in representing the older brigade and should do so with gusto. She deservedly bagged a Group 3 at Glorious Goodwood with a late flourish and has since finished second to Safe Voyage at York in similar conditions to this.

Limato was the most recent three-year-old to win this - the fourth since 2000 - and it's the Classic generation that are feared now.

Molatham won the Flying Scotsman over C&D as a juvenile last season and reappeared at Ascot in June to take out the Jersey Stakes. He was no match for Pinatubo (fifth) in a French Group 1 since but should find this easier.

Chasing him home here last September was WICHITA and the Ballydoyle colt might gain some revenge under Frankie Dettori now. His early season form demands maximum respect. He was second in the 2,000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes and might have won in both instances over slightly less than a mile.

Being by No Nay Never, it wasn't a shock to see him dropped in distance last time in France but he never really got into the Prix Maurice De Gheest against some proper sprinters. This 7f trip might be perfect for him and a big bounce-back is expected.

Selection: Wichita @ 7/2

Next Best: Molatham @ 11/2


3.35 - Pertemps St Leger Stakes (Group 1, 1m6½f)

The fairytale story of Pyledriver adds some intrigue to this year's St Leger. Unwanted at the sales, the Harbour Watch colt has made a real name for himself this season since going up in distance.

He won at Royal Ascot and was duly aimed at The Derby, where things simply didn't go his way from an early stage in a messy Classic. He next went to York and defied a penalty in winning the Great Voltigeur last month. This is though his toughest mission so far and the extra distance is a concern. Martin Dwyer was quick to suggest the Leger trip might be a worry after his York win and one wonders if that will prove prophetic at Doncaster in the heat of battle.

Last month's Geoffrey Freer winner Hukum is going the right way, backing up his Royal Ascot success with a smooth transition into pattern-race company. He certainly doesn't look out of place taking this step up the ladder and Owen Burrows' hopes of a first Classic success are realistic.

Things have gone wrong for English King since he won a Derby Trial at Lingfield. His Epsom defeat can be forgiven easily but less so his laboured Goodwood run in the Gordon Stakes. Ed Walker retains full faith but he also confirms that Longchamp on Sunday is the preferred target.

Aidan O'Brien bids for Leger win number seven with SANTIAGO and the Irish Derby winner might be the answer. His ability over this trip was fully showcased in the Queen's Vase at Ascot a week before that Curragh Classic win and he lost little caste in defeat behind Stradivarius and Nayef Road in the Goodwood Cup at two miles since.

This drop back in distance against his peer-group might prove ideal and in Frankie Dettori the trainer has secured the ideal man to ride, with Ryan Moore in Ireland for their Champions Weekend. The Italian has also won this race six times (including for this trainer in 2005) and after partnering

Logician 12 months ago, the best rider in the business may land back-to-back Doncaster Classics for the third time in his career.

Look out for Joseph O'Brien's improving Galileo Chrome as a big player but, for an each-way interest, there's some merit in Berkshire Rocco at massive odds.

He came clear with Santiago at Ascot and was around four lengths behind Pyledriver at York on his only run since. Conditions here will present no barrier and going back up in distance is likely to be a tonic for Andrew Balding's charge; while he gets dual Leger-winning rider Andrea Atzeni in the plate, the Sardinian still representing one of the best Doncaster riders in the weighing room.

Selection: Santiago @ 3/1

Next Best: Berkshire Rocco @ 33/1


Place a non in-play single bet of £/€10+ (£/€10+ E/W) on the St Leger and get a £/€10 free bet if your selection loses and Pyledriver wins the race.


4.05 - Matthew Clark Nursery (1m)

LEGEND OF DUBAI was turned over at odds-on in a Haydock novice (1m, good to soft) last month but Roger Varian's Dubawi colt might be all the better for that now sent handicapping. The winner acquitted himself well in Listed company back on Merseyside this month and Andrea Atzeni's mount should launch a big challenge here.

Recent Goodwood winner Lone Eagle may start favourite but he made hard work of justifying short odds and the runner-up Oman had finished a long way behind Legend Of Dubai when they clashed on debut at Newbury.

Recovery Run made a winning start in nurseries at Kempton last weekend and a 3lb rise back on turf certainly shouldn't take Richard Hannon's colt out of contention.

Selection: Legend Of Dubai @ SP

Next Best: Recovery Run @ SP


5.15 - Magners Dark Fruit Cider Handicap (1m4f)

Spanish Archer just got the better of AL MUFFRIH when they met at Ripon in late July. They were engaged in a sustained battle with The Trader in the home straight and James Fanshawe's challenger did best on the outside to win. He was held since at Ascot but comes here with a chance.

William Haggas will certainly feel there's better to come from his gelded son of Sea The Stars. He didn't have the best experience at Ripon, with the winner and runner-up both leaning towards him from either side. Interference it wasn't, but a little intimidating it almost certainly was.

He's better off on these terms with the winner and is also fitted with first-time cheekpieces, ensuring Tom Marquand's mount gets the nod to turn things around with less scrimmaging likely here.

All five would have their claims in this line-up and Mankayan rates a big danger having won over C&D in July and finished second at Ascot and Pontefract since. He's up another 3lb in a higher grade this time but certainly looks capable of having his say.

Selection: Al Muffrih @ SP

Next Best: Mankayan @ SP



Place a non in-play single bet of £/€10+ (£/€10+ E/W) on the St Leger and get a £/€10 free bet if your selection loses and Pyledriver wins the race.





V: 1.26.2 All rights reserved. August 2021