The season seems to be flying past and it’s strange to think that it’s the final Classic of the season on Saturday. It’s obviously a real shame for the team at Doncaster that the St Leger will now be run behind closed doors as they had some grand plans for the weekend. However, the decision is definitely a sensible one considering the news and we will just have to carry on as until it’s safe for crowds to return. I haven’t got a ride in the big race itself, but have some nice ones in the supporting races…. thoughts below and in the Zoom Room which I recorded on Friday with Bill and Luke.
I kick things off aboard Teston for Ivan Furtado in a wide-open looking opener. He made a really impressive racecourse debut on British soil over this course and distance back in June winning by six lengths. He returns to Doncaster on the back of two runs in France and will find life tougher off an 11lbs higher mark. That said, he won so well here last time that you certainly can’t rule him out – even in a better looking race.
STONE OF DESTINY (2.25pm – Portland Handicap)
Andrew Balding has his team in great form again and is firing in winners all over the country. Therefore, I am looking forward to getting back aboard Stone Of Destiny in the Portland Handicap. He ran much better at Sandown last time and looks to be coming back into some form. This unique 5 1/2 furlongs looks like it should suit him too – he just ran out of puff late on when a close sixth in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot over six furlongs. He has now slipped to a mark of 93 which is 4lbs below his last winning mark at Ascot last summer. I am happy with his draw near the stand side rail and will be hoping the gaps open late on. Looking at the others and there are plenty to fear. A Momentofmadness loves this race and has slipped to a very winnable mark. He won this two years ago and was a close second 12 months ago. If we finish near him, we won’t be far away.
SHINE SO BRIGHT (3.00pm – Park Stakes)
Another one for Andrew Balding and King Power racing in the shape of Shine So Bright in the Park Stakes. He was a disappointing odds-on favourite in this race 12 months ago and hopefully can bounce back. He has gradually got better with each start this campaign and was a good third at Newbury last time. The combination of the trip and decent ground look ideal and I’m hopeful he can go well. It does look a hot renewal though with the obvious one being Limato who won this back in 2015! He is an extraordinary horse who still looks to have retained all his ability when winning at Newmarket last time. He looks set to get his conditions too and may take some beating.
3.35pm – St Leger
No ride for me in the big race of the afternoon, but I will watch on with interest from the weighing room. I’d love to see Pyledriver (pictured below) win for William Muir and Martin Dwyer. He looked really good at York last time and will take plenty of beating if he stays this trip. He’d be the one I’d be keenest to ride, but you can never rule out the O’Brien team – that’s Joseph as well as Aidan!
LONE EAGLE – (4.05pm)
I am delighted to have been asked to ride Lone Eagle for Martyn Meade in the mile nursery. The son of Galileo was only just touched off on his debut at Sandown and followed that with a good win on soft ground at Goodwood last time. This will require another step up again, but he is well bred and looks an exciting prospect.
⚡ THE ZOOM ROOM ⚡