Some good horses have won the Champagne Stakes in recent years, with Frankel the main one. The likes to Toronado and Too Darn Hot are two other top-class horses to have taken this race en route to better things.
This might be a decent renewal with Mujbar, Albasheer and Chindit all looking like they could have decent futures. I think Chindit is the one to be on here though.
Strong in the market on debut over this course and distance, he was prominent throughout and was a smooth winner.
He was stepped up to Listed level for his second start at Ascot and this time he was slowly away and travelled strongly out the back, but showed a great turn of foot to pick up the leaders and win going away.
That was impressive and it wasn’t bad on the clock either, but the form of the runners in behind has been red hot. The 2nd and 4th both won at Listed level on their next starts and the 3rd won a maiden by a wide margin before finishing 3rd in a Group 3 in France.
Chindit is open to more improvement and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is capable of being a Guineas contender next season.
As ever this is a competitive renewal of the Portland and I think Jawwaal has solid each way claims. Decent when trained by John Gosden at 2 & 3, he switched to Michael Dods at the beginning of last season and despite not winning, he did run well on a number of occasions.
He was placed twice at Doncaster last season, being beaten a neck off 87 and half a length off 88. He won on his reappearance this season over five furlongs at Doncaster off a mark of 85 and followed up in impressive fashion at Ascot off a mark of 90.
That Ascot race has worked out well with the 2nd, 11th, 14th & 16th all winning since and many more running well in decent sprint handicaps.
Jawwaal did disappoint last time at York but York doesn’t suit every horse and we saw on Friday with Ubettabelieveit that horses with Doncaster form can bounce back from a poor run at York. If Jawwaal comes back to his Ascot form, he looks sure to run well at a track that suits him well.
Limato looked as good as ever last time at Newmarket and this is his trip, while One Master is a very solid mark at this trip too, but she wouldn’t want the ground to continue to dry out. However, I think Wichita is the one to be on here.
A good two-year-old, he won the Group 3 Autumn Stakes, before finishing 3rd in the Dewhurst behind Pinatubo.
He looked all over the winner of the 2,000 Guineas on his reappearance before being run down close to the line by Kameko and followed that up with a close 3rd in the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
At the time that might have been seen as slightly disappointing but Palace Pier has won again at Group 1 level in France, while Pintubo has also won at Group 1 level and should have added a second Group 1 when being left with too much ground to make up last time out.
Wichita had excuses in the Sussex Stakes and probably found the run at Deauville coming too quickly next time out. Now down in grade and getting the 3 year old allowance, he would be very difficult to beat if rediscovering his form from earlier in the season.
I think this is a good renewal of the St Leger with an Irish Derby winner, a Great Voltigeur winner and a Royal Ascot winner among the field. But, I have going to side with one of the less highly-tried types in Galileo Chrome.
I’m yet to be convinced that Pyledriver and Hukum are stayers, as while both were impressive last time out, neither race was very strongly run and they won their races with a turn of foot. The Coolmore team and Subjectivist are very unlikely to let this become tactical and there is every reason to believe that this will play to the strengths to the strong stayers.
Santiago obviously has no concerns on that front after winning at the trip at Royal Ascot but anyone who reads my column regularly will know that I am a massive fan of Galileo Chrome and I have been convinced that there was a Group 1 in him.
A well backed winner of a maiden at the Curragh on his reappearance, that race has worked out well, with subsequent Group 3 second Dawn Patrol and Derby winner Serpentine in behind.
Galileo Chrome followed up at Leopardstown over ten furlongs, dispatching the 93 by six lengths in very comfortable fashion. He was then stepped up to listed level and up to a mile and five furlongs last time and he bolted up again, winning by five lengths from the 105 rated Emperor Of The Sun.
He was really strong at the finish and shapes like he will relish a stamina test. That said, he has a touch of class as well and I am really excited about his chance, as I really think he is the one to beat.
Frank Hickey’s fab 4 best bets on St Leger day at Doncaster
- Sprint over to all the top tips and racing previews now
- Horse Racing: How to watch racing for free with Paddy Power
- Placing bets is easier than ever with Paddy Power News’ live odds banners