St Leger Festival Preview And Betting Tips - Day One
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St Leger Festival Preview And Betting Tips - Day One

The famous Doncaster St Leger Festival gets underway on Wednesday afternoon (1.10-4.15) with a seven-race offering on Town Moor that includes the Leger Legends Stakes (2.40) and the Group 3 Sceptre Fillies' Stakes (3.15) as the feature contest. The Racing Post bring you full race-by-race guides and betting tips for all four days of the St Leger Festival leading to the final British Classic of 2020 on Saturday afternoon. Our racing expert assesses Wednesday's card with selections and next best bets in all seven races below.


1.10 - British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes (1m)

An opening maiden over the mile that will be tough to solve with only two of the 11 contenders having raced previously. They are the top pair on the racecard and both LATEST GENERATION and Side Shot will cede 3lb to their debuting rivals.

A son of Frankel, Simon & Ed Crisford's Latest Generation made a really pleasing start to his career when close-up in third at Sandown (7f, good) last month despite being a relatively unfancied 16/1 chance in the market.

The winner One Ruler for Godolphin had already finished second behind a subsequent winner on debut at the Esher venue while second home Maximal also had a positive debut second at Newbury in the Khalid Abdullah silks. Assuming normal progress, William Buick's mount has exceptional claims for a yard in flying form (9-27 recently).

Side Shot is of course respected under Frankie Dettori for John Gosden. The Italian rider comes into this meeting in good form and is 2-2 at Doncaster in 2020.

There are plenty of well-bred sorts in opposition and so a thorough check of the betting is required, with Royal Champion and Mohaafeth amongst those that make solid appeal on pedigree.

Selection: Latest Generation @ SP

Next Best: Royal Champion @ SP


13.40 - bet365 Nursery (7f)

Plenty with form claims in a wide open nursery contest. Gumdrop improved for the switch to this sphere at Chester and should have more to give despite going up 9lb for his success on the Roodee.

Ataser (first) finished ahead of Mayaas (second) at York last month and may hold sway again despite the pull at the weights for the runner-up; while Concessions is forgiven a poor run at Sandown in July and assumed to be a threat based on her earlier second in a Listed contest at Newmarket.

Each have their claims but it's mildly surprising to find AL WATAN the outsider of the party in the betting. Saeed bin Suroor's son of Dubawi made a nice start to his career when clear second behind First Prophet at Newbury in June and was expected to go a place better in early July on the all-weather at Chelmsford.

He had to make a wide challenge on the home turn there under claiming rider Gabriele Malune and found less than expected, fading to be fifth. The second and third home were next-time-out winners and it's certainly not worth judging Al Watan too harshly on that run.

His debut had plenty of promise about it and, back on turf and starting in a handicap for the first time off a mark of 78, Callum Shepherd's mount is an each-way player.

Selection: Al Watan @ 12/1

Next Best: Ataser @ 4/1


2.10 - bet365 Scarbrough Stakes (Listed, 5f)

There's plenty of temptation to side with the improving Acklam Express for trainer Nigel Tinkler and he's an each-way sort of price. He has won his last three starts and was a model of determination at York (5f, soft) when gaining a Listed score last month.

He's still on the upgrade and getting Andrea Atzeni on his back for the first time can only be considered a positive around this track. However, he'll be the first two-year-old to win this race if he does it and despite the weight allowances in his favour, may find some more established older performers have his measure at this point.

Dakota Gold is back operating near his best and rates a big player. He was only beaten by an upwardly mobile colt at York on Sunday in a Listed event. This is going to be his third start in less than a fortnight and while that's a minor source of concern, he does take his racing exceptionally well and it will be no shock to see Michael Dods' star in the thick of things.

MOSS GILL is enjoying a fine summer and has to be viewed in a positive light following last month's third in the Nunthorpe behind Battaash. Danny Tudhope's mount came through from off the pace in what was a really fast-run Group 1 affair. A reproduction of that might be good enough now and the No Nay Never gelding enjoyed a really smooth success on this track as a novice in his only previous visit.

He's the pick on form and will have no worries racing up with the pace in this line-up, which should boost his hopes.

Frankie Dettori rides Urban Beat for his old sparring partner Johnny Murtagh. The five-year-old has been in consistent form this season in Ireland and, with cheekpieces back on, can be relied on to give this a solid go especially with Dettori on top for the first time. His trainer has been going great guns over the summer and some prize money should go for export.

Selection: Moss Gill @ 5/2

Next Best: Urban Beat @ 11/2

2.40 - Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes (1m)

The Leger Legends race usually brings out some old faces from the weighing room but the current racing protocols ensure that's not possible this time and so it's being contested by current professionals in 2020.

Not hard to accommodate Frankie Dettori in the Legends bracket and the man with the perfect Doncaster record in 2020 (2-2 starting this meeting) is worth a shot on ROCA MAGICA for Ed Dunlop.

The four-year-old filly was twice a winner earlier this summer at Yarmouth and Kempton over a mile and has run well enough in subsequent starts at Haydock and back at Yarmouth dropped to 7f.

She's done the bulk of her racing on the all-weather circuit so far and might still have more to offer on grass back up in trip.

This big-field event is wide open and In The Cove gets the nod as second choice for an interest. Richard Hannon's colt was a winner at Chepstow in July and has Rossa Ryan back in the saddle for the first time since. He hasn't been quite as good in three runs most recently but remains on a very workable mark.

Selection: Roca Magica @ 9/1

Next Best: In The Cove @ 16/1


3.15 - bet365 Sceptre Fillies' Stakes (Group 3, 7f)

A good line-up for the day one feature at Doncaster and 15 fillies are set to take their chance in the Sceptre Stakes.

On form it is easy to see ALTHIQA having a major say. The Dark Angel filly was a Listed scorer at Deauville earlier this summer and has essentially continued her progress despite defeats in both runs since.

She ran into the talented One Master at Glorious Goodwood and finished one-length third, clear of the remainder. Back in France afterwards she had re-opposing Cloak Of Spirits behind in third when giving best to Irska in testing conditions that may well have favoured the winner in the Group 3 Prix De Lieurey.

The experience gained from running in this grade will stand to the Godolphin filly here and she's got excellent prospects in her quest to become the 12th three-year-old winner of this contest in the last 15 years.

Sir Michael Stoute runs Jubiloso, a disappointment at Royal Ascot in one start this term. She was fancied for that outing and if she can bounce back to the sort of form she showed last summer, she will have her claims.

So, too, will Mubtasimah if putting behind a poor run on the all-weather at Chelmsford in early July. She has been given a rest since and is worth a crack at this level based on her prior Newbury Listed success in June.

For a bit of an each-way squeak, look towards Lyzbeth for the Martyn Meade yard. Winner of the Listed Cathedral Stakes at Goodwood in June, she wasn't beaten all that far in the Group 3 Summer Fillies' Stakes at York (6f, good) the following month as a 33/1 chance. She is a former C&D winner and ought to be suited by the return to seven furlongs, though she may not want to see any further rain.

Tip: Althiqa @ 11/2

Next Best: Lyzbeth @ 12/1


3.45 - Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap (1m2f)

The likely market leading duo of Caradoc and Derevo are definitely capable of having a major say in this contest. Both can claim things haven't fallen their way at times this season and, when that changes, success should be attainable.

Sir Michael Stoute's Dansili colt is just about preferred from that pair. His latest York run saw him probably caught further back than ideal early on and he's been eased by the handicapper for that sixth-place finish. He's unlikely to end the season without getting a blow in somewhere.

At the foot of the weights STRAIT OF HORMUZ gets the nod to improve and bag a good prize for trainer Jedd O'Keefe.

He produced a winning effort on seasonal bow/first start for this yard at Haydock in June over a mile, handling some cut in the ground as he did. On his first crack beyond that distance last month, he finished to good effect in second despite the notion the race wasn't run to suit him.

On that evidence, stamina shouldn't be a problem and this is less liable to turn into a tactical affair. With Andrea Atzeni taking over, hopes are realistic of an improved showing and he's unexposed at this distance.

Tip: Strait Of Hormuz @ 8/1

Next Best: Derevo @ 6/1


4.15 - Parkes Bros Roofing Contractors Handicap (5f)

Both QUEEN'S ORDER and Glory Fighter can be forgiven their below-par runs last time out as they made tardy starts and were left battling as a consequence.

Kevin Ryan's filly had knocked on the door at Pontefract and York over this minimum distance prior to that Knavesmire run 18 days ago. She was caught on her heels as the race started under Megan Nicholls and, with an ease in grade in her favour now, can be given a chance to bounce back with Danny Tudhope back in the plate. She has been eased a handy 2lb in the ratings and retains scope for better things.

Line Of Reason has been very consistent since winning at Newmarket in June, including a one-length fourth over this C&D last month. Paul Hanagan's mount should continue to make his presence felt, while Eeh Bah Gum remains well below his previous win-mark and must be taken seriously after a good effort at Thirsk five days ago.

Selection: Queen's Order @ SP

Next Best: Eeh Bah Gum @ SP





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