The final British Classic of the season at Doncaster and three meetings to create a cracking show and many punting chances on Saturday.
We start at Doncaster with the 13.50 and the 5f Portland Handicap. There has to be a chance A MOMENTOFMADNESS can land the prize for a second year in a row. Trained by Charlie Hills, my hope was back to form at York last time and is 4lb lower in the weights than when scoring here 12 months ago and Paddy’s paying the first 6 home.
The Group 2 Park Stakes over 7f comes up at 14.25 and a strong gallop looks assured in a small field. That gives me hope that SIR DANCEALOT can bounce back to form under Gerald Mosse. Trained by David Elsworth, the selection was disappointing last time but has decent course form on Town Moor.
It’s the Group 2 Champagne Stakes over 7f at Doncaster at 15.00. Threat is the form horse, but ROYAL CRUSADE looked a huge talent on debut at Newmarket for Godolphin and could me a tough nut to crack. Charlie Appleby knows the time of day with these youngsters.
The feature race of the day is the Group 1 St Leger over an extended 1m 6f at 15.35.
Logician is a strong favourite and rightly so on form, plus he has the added advantage of being in the care of Johnny G Gosden, who has landed the feature four times with Masked Marvel, Arctic Cosmos, Lucarno and Shantou.
Unbeaten, Logician powered to a near two-length success in the Group 2 Voltigeur Stakes at York last time, and the winning margin could easily have been extended. Stamina should be no issue and he could be a proper top class performer in 2020.
A field of eight is set to go to post for the Group 1 contest, and many will look for a big run from Coolmore’s Sir Dragonet.
The Chester Vase hero looked like one to keep on the right side of when finishing fifth in the Derby at Epsom, but he ran a shocker on his return to action after that big day, finishing fourth of seven in a minor Group 3 event at the Curragh. That was over 1m 2f and Aidan O’Brien will hope the step back up in trip will bring a revival. I am not so sure, as the son of Camelot has never looked one to lack pace.
O’Brien also saddles Il Paradiso, who ran huge behind Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at York, without ever looking like winning. He could book himself a place in the Melbourne Cup if going well.
It would be a fairytale for 40-something jockey Franny Norton if was to take the prize on Sir Ron Priestley, and it’s not impossible that the big improver will take a hand for Mark Johnston. He impressed in the March Stakes at Goodwood and stays strong. A real street fighter. It’s a decent renewal but LOGICIAN just has to be the choice.
Meanwhile, ITV also show the Listed event over an extended 1m 4f at Chester at 14.05. Any of the runners could win, but I will go for DURSTON, who looks sure to enjoy dropping back in distance after fading close home at Newbury last time.
Jamie Spencer rides for David Simcock.
And finally, ITV have the 14.45 at Chelmsford, a handicap over 7f. This is wide open. HABUB is a bit in and out for Owen Burrows and did not run up to his best at this track last time. However, on his previous win he has every chance.
So he will do for me under the excellent Rossa Ryan. Let’s hope we hit the bullseye. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices correct at time of publishing