Charlie McCann looks forward to a cracking St Leger Saturday
The St Leger is the highlight of a cracking card from Doncaster this afternoon with ten colts and the filly Coronet going to post for the oldest classic in the world. The race is likely to be run on ground just on the soft side of good with no further rain forecast in south Yorkshire.
Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner of the Leger on five previous occasions and it is interesting that the Italian could have partnered John Gosden’s Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius, but sees him playing second-fiddle to stablemate Coronet who will certainly appreciate the step up in trip beyond 12 for the first time today.
Both Gosden inmates have sound chances, as does Irish Derby winner Capri, but my two against the field are Defoe and Crystal Ocean (3.35) with marginal preference for the latter. The selection (4/1 with BetVictor) won the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood last time in the manner of a progressive colt and he can give Sir Michael Stoute just his second winner of the race.
Defoe (5/1 at BetVictor) has done this column more than one favour so far this season and the Roger Varian-trained colt is open to further improvement now that he tackles this extended mile-and-three-quarters for the first time.
The last four market leaders have won the Gp 2 Champagne stakes and Mythical Magic (3.00) is BetVictor’s 5/2 market leader to make it five in a row for Charlie Appleby and James Doyle who takes over in the saddle. Appleby saddled the winner of this corresponding race in 2013 and 2015 and I will be disappointed if this unbeaten juvenile doesn’t go very close. Note the colt is currently 33/1with BetVictor for the 2018 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in the spring.
The ITV cameras are also at Chester where the feature is the listed race over a-mile-and-a-half. Across The Stars has been too keen to do himself justice including at Windsor last time in his first-time hood. Stoute perseveres with the headgear this afternoon and he must go close but Duretto (2.40) returns from a four-month lay-off having ran well over today’s course when third in the Gp 3 Ormonde Stakes at the May meeting.
If there is further rain at Lingfield then I suggest we swerve Perla Blanca (2.30) but I feel she has been crying out for a step in in trip and Marcus Tregoning looks to have found an excellent opportunity – if she can handle ground, which is currently described as soft.
Give And Take (3.05) can make it third time lucky for William Haggas having finished runner up in both her career starts to date. The Godolphin newcomer Lunar Maria looks the obvious danger and a check of the market is advised.
At Bath on Sunday, I think Big Time Maybe (4.15) can break his maiden tag at the sixth time of asking for Tom Dascombe. The selection hasn’t progressed as many thought he would having been beaten a short head here on debut but he ran well at Chelmsford off this mark last month and he is fitted with new headgear – cheekpieces this afternoon.
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