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St Leger Festival Preview And Betting Tips - Day Three

St Leger Festival Preview And Betting Tips - Day Three

Friday is day three of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster (1.10pm-4.15pm) and the Town Moor action is headlined by the Group 2 Doncaster Cup for the stayers at 3.15pm. With Stradivarius bound for France, the crown is up for grabs. There are seven races in all, including the Group 2 Flying Childers over five-furlongs and the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes either side of the main dish. The Racing Post return with their betting preview and tips for day three of the St Leger Festival.

 


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1.10 - British Ebf Premier Fillies' Handicap (1m3½f)

Only five runners but the sparsity of numbers certainly doesn't make this an easy task to solve. Sir Michael Stoute has two excellent contenders in Almareekh and Sorrel. The former has won three on the bounce and had plenty to spare at Salisbury last month. She's 8lb higher for this assignment and set to meet the slowest ground she has encountered.

Stablemate Sorrel is on the way up and was a cosy winner at Leicester last month, as she was entitled to be at odds of 1/4. Again, a 6lb rise asks a question for William Buick's mount now.

Albaflora won a Haydock maiden on debut in June (1m2f) and has twice run in pattern-race company since without disgracing herself. There's likely improvement in her but an opening mark of 98 isn't straightforward. The only four-year-old in the field, Sweet Celebration has most to find on form after a poor outing at Newbury in July.

Which leads us to FRANKEL'S STORM for the Mark Johnston team. She's contested group races in France at the end of last season and three weeks ago, coming up shy on both occasions. In between those runs, she made a pleasing impression at Pontefract on her reappearance last month when holding off an older rival in Mankayan for a win. That's her only attempt at this distance and she should have more to give from this 5lb higher perch. She handles all ground and could be a tough nut to crack in front.

Tip: Frankel's Storm @ SP

Next Best: Almareekh @ SP

 

1.40 - bet365 Mallard Handicap (1m6½f)

Last year's winner Sleeping Lion is rated 3lb higher in attempting to defend his crown. James Fanshawe's charge has run well enough in defeat on his last two starts over further but may find the ground slower than he'd like it now dropped back in distance.

Calculation joins him in being a previous C&D winner, albeit in a lesser grade than this one, and Sir Michael Stoute's Royal challenger warmed up for this when finishing clear second behind a subsequent winner at Sandown over a similar trip last month. He's somewhat challenged having gone up 5lb to a career-high mark as a result of that effort.

This trip is ideal for top-weight Volcanic Sky, although Cieren Fallon's mount has to improve to defy his mark of 102, while the same applies to in-form High Wells. He made it 2-4 for new connections at Kempton a week ago but takes on classier rivals now.

Apparate didn't seem to get home tackling this trip at Ascot in July and so has to prove his stamina while Solo Saxophone remains in the grips of the handicapper having recorded a hat-trick early this summer after joining Ben Haslam.

John Gosden's ALFAATIK had missed 455 days prior to his handicap debut at York (1m4f, good) at the Ebor Festival three weeks ago. Jim Crowley brought him through from the rear to win that Class 2 contest with a bit more authority than the winning margin suggested. The second and third have essentially franked that form with excellent efforts in defeat on their subsequent starts in strong races.

Alfaatik is 5lb higher now but should be well served going up to this distance and the gelded son of Sea The Stars is fancied to carry on making up for lost time on what is only his fourth racecourse start.

Selection: Alfaatik @ 5/2

Next Best: Calculation @ 9/2

 

2.10 - bet365 Handicap (6½f)

Lots with chances in an open contest. The likes of Tranchee and Sunset Breeze are potentially well-handicapped after finishing second best in runs at Haydock (7f, soft) and Ascot (7f, good to soft) a week ago.

The bottom-weight Sunset Breeze was determined in that run and battled all the way to the line having made most of the running. Sir Mark Prescott's charge is due a 5lb hike in the ratings in the future.

Meanwhile, Tranchee was a strong-travelling second on Merseyside and the War Front gelding has to be of interest from an unchanged mark with Ray Dawson (already amongst the winners here this week) taking off 5lb.

Former course winner Edgewood made it 2-3 this season at Hamilton last month and commands a spot on the shortlist despite his new career-high mark, while Musicality should be thereabouts despite a 7lb increase for his Ascot success a fortnight ago over a shorter trip.

However, GHALYOON came from a long way back to finish a close second over 7f here last month on his first run for 399 days. Marcus Tregoning's charge was a bit keen early on and finished in very pleasing style. With the gas out of him now, he may make some progress on what is his second start after a wind operation.

He's very lightly-raced and the assessor has only nudged him up 1lb despite the clear promise he showed in eating up the ground late on in that contest 27 days ago. Jim Crowley's mount has had enough time to get over those exploits and is a big player.

Selection: Ghalyoon @ 9/2

Next Best: Tranchee @ 9/1

 

2.40 - Bombardier Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2, 5f)

What a race this looks to be on paper. Norfolk winner The Lir Jet and Molecomb scorer Steel Bull lock horns with William Haggas' Sacred - second best in both the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot (5f) and York's Lowther Stakes (6f).

Haggas' filly travelled ever so smoothly into that York race but couldn't get by Miss Amulet. It was a similar tale in June at Ascot over this trip, the Exceed And Excel filly having looked the best in the race, only to not be able to put it to bed when hitting the front. There's just a minor concern on that score and, as favourite, she's opposed accordingly.

Steel Bull was impressive at Glorious Goodwood when backed as if defeat was out of the question. Michael O'Callaghan's charge wasn't at that level since over 6f at the Curragh and while he's suited back down in trip, this demands more from him.

The Lir Jet was ahead of him in that Irish contest when promoted to runner-up after finishing third. A return to the minimum distance may also be an aid for Michael Bell's Royal Ascot winner, set to be partnered here for the first time by new Qatar Racing rider Cieren Fallon.

Ventura Tormenta defeated The Lir Jet in France but was down the field at the Curragh in that Group 1 follow-up attempt. Richard Hannon's colt may struggle to get the early lead and that's mainly owing to the presence of trail-blazing filly FRENETIC for Ger Lyons.

She's been a model of consistency this season and got back to winning ways with a Listed success at the Curragh (5f, good) last month. She only narrowly failed to give away 3lb to subsequent Lowther winner Miss Amulet previous to that at Naas and her raw speed might pay off handsomely in this contest for William Buick.

Selection: Frenetic @ 13/2

Next Best: The Lir Jet @ 7/2

3.15 - bet365 Doncaster Cup Stakes (Group 2, 2m2f)

Not the strongest renewal of this Group 2 stayers' event by any stretch of the imagination. Stradivarius is on the continent this weekend while Nayef Road ducks out after having a hard race at York last month. That leaves a gap to be exploited seemingly and plenty will fancy their chances of doing just that.

The admirable Red Verdon has never been out of the first two in four starts at this circuit at up to 1m6½f. It's a long while since we've seen him tackling such an exacting stamina test. He has group-race form at two-miles but is yet to run this far, while his case isn't helped by conceding a penalty to his rivals. That said, Frankie Dettori's mount is likely to give a solid account.

Revolver continues to enthral. His winning sequence this season stands at six, a run that began at Pontefract in June off a mark of 57. No horse on these shores has progressed more this term and he's now rated 41lb higher. His win at the same Yorkshire circuit last month was his first attempt beyond two-miles and the manner of victory suggested he's still keeping a little something for himself as he found more when challenged late on (third won twice since).

Quite clearly this is his toughest challenge to date. He gets a handy allowance taking on older horses and, in this less than vintage renewal, it's entirely possible this gun has one more bullet in the chamber.

A Group 3 winner at Newmarket (1m5f) last summer, SPANISH MISSION earns the nod to land this prize on only his second start for new trainer Andrew Balding. He never really got into the Goodwood Cup in July from the rear on what proved his final outing for David Simcock but the change of scenery appeared to have a positive effect as he justified odds-on favouritism in seeing off re-opposing Selino for a Listed success at Chester since.

He was behind Eagles By Day at Goodwood but may well reverse those placings now and, arguably, he'll never see a better opportunity to register a Group 2 victory.

Selection: Spanish Mission @ 7/4

Next Best: Red Verdon @ 6/1

 

3.45 - bet365 Flying Scotsman Stakes (Listed, 7f)

Having found only a next-time-out Group 3 winner too strong in Etonian on their respective debuts at Sandown in July, One Ruler had no problems in going one better at the Esher venue last month in maiden company. The Dubawi colt made all and did his work in an impressive time, seeing off promising Maximal in second and Wednesday's winner here, Latest Generation in third.

He's open to plenty of progress going up in class for the Charlie Appleby team and has to command a decent amount of respect.

Thank You Next might bounce back from a sub-par Goodwood run, albeit she may want a faster surface and she's already ducked an appointment here this week that would have been easier. Her Richard Hannon-trained stablemate Fountain Cross has some improvement to find in this grade after a poor show at Ripon last time.

Laneqash made a good start at Ascot when winning last month but the £175,000 purchase will have to step forward on that.

SPYCATCHER (second) had Royal Scimitar (fourth) well behind in last month's Acomb Stakes at York over this trip on similar ground. Karl Burke's colt looked to be the winner at the furlong marker but was nabbed very late on by unbeaten Gear Up. He now drops into Listed company and, with further progress distinctly likely, may take some halting this time out.

Apollo One's third in the Sweet Solario at Sandown last month behind the aforementioned Etonian brings him into the picture, though front-running tactics might not pay off in this line-up.

Selection: Spycatcher @ 4/1

Next Best: One Ruler @ 10/3

 

4.15 - Gary Reid Memorial Maiden Stakes (7f)

A maiden to finish things off on Friday afternoon and one in which only three of the 10 contenders have raced before.

Tawaareq made some good late headway on debut at Sandown last month to finish fifth despite odds of 50/1 in a race won by One Ruler, form that might be enhanced by the Godolphin charge in the preceding Listed contest, while that race has already thrown up a winner here this week.

MUAY THAI made a decent fist of things at Ascot a week ago on debut despite having to wait on the running rail for his chance to challenge. He finished to good effect for a close third and, typically for the Richard Hannon two-year-olds, is likely to step up markedly on that first day at school.

John Gosden runs the expensively acquired pair of Taravara (?300,000) and Cordouan (£105,000) while Frankel colt John Leeper for Ed Dunlop and Kevin Ryan's Tromso ensure the newcomers have to be monitored in the betting in a finale where the market is going to be an essential punting aid.

Selection: Muay Thai @ SP

Next Best: Tawaareq @ SP

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