THE ST LEGER is the oldest of the five classics dating back to 1776, and there’s an intriguing renewal on the cards at Doncaster for the last of Britain’s big races.
Tomorrow’s (Saturday) Group 1 over one mile and six furlongs is open to colts and fillies aged three and is also the final leg of the Flat Triple Crown which starts with the 2000 Guineas and the Derby for colts, and the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks for fillies.
LOGICIAN deserves his place at the head of the market but is short enough at even money with Carrigill’s for a first venture into Group One company and over a mile and six. Aidan O’Brien’s SIR DRAGONET is his main market rival but whether a proper test at this trip is what he wants remains to be seen.
Preference is for stablemate IL PARADISO, who is thriving right now and ran a huge race to finish third in the Lonsdale Cup at York. He has no stamina questions to answer, a remark which also applies to SIR RON PRIESTLEY who will take some pegging back from the front and makes each-way appeal at a double-figure price.
IL PARADISO followed up an impressive win in Curragh handicap (12 lengths winner from a mark of 89) by finishing third to Stradivarius in the Lonsdale. He was only a nose off runner-up Dee Ex Bee there and that form puts him bang in the frame with the potential for further improvement.
SIR RON PRIESTLEY is a typically teak-tough, progressive Mark Johnston three-year-old who’s five from six this season, winning handicaps from marks of 86 through to 98 and landing the March Stakes at Goodwood last time. The slow pace there didn’t suit him, but he was still a decisive winner and this front-runner hasn’t stopped improving yet. He’ll take some passing in any company, relishes a stamina test and will expose any flaws in these rivals.
The St Leger is the feature race, but the supporting card at Town Moor is an excellent one and includes the Portland Handicap, a class two handicap race for three-year-olds and up over five and a half furlongs.
The one that interests me is BIELSA, who is sure to be well-supported by Leeds United fans. Kevin Ryan’s sprinter looked to have a bit in the tank when he overcame some battle-hardened individuals in a warm contest at Thirsk last month and this 6lb higher mark may be well within his capabilities.
The Group Two Park Stakes features a fascinating clash and SHINE SO BRIGHT is fancied to come out on top.
Trainer Richard Hannon has a strong hand in The Champagne Stakes for two-year-old colts, where THREAT can follow up from his Gimcrack win at York at this level and get the better of stablemate MUMS TIPPLE.
Carrigill’s nap: (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): LOGICIAN, Saturday, Doncaster, 3.35.
Augur’s best bet: THREAT, Saturday, Doncaster, 3.00.