Friday marks the second day of the Betfred St Leger Festival at Doncaster, with another eight races to enjoy from 1:15 to 5:20.
After a 13/8 winner and a 13/2 place on Thursday, I’m hoping to build on a decent start – and below is the trio who will carry that weight.
13:15 – Circe @ 5/2
As regular readers will know, I’m a frequent backer of juvenile’s with form in the book when pitted against mainly unraced types.
It’s not a foolproof method, but if the selection boasts above-average form and improvement is expected, I tend to find it pays to side with them.
That’s the case with Richard Hannon’s Circe, who lines up against 10 rivals for the 7f fillies’ maiden that opens the card at Doncaster on Friday.
She’s the standard-setter of those with experience thanks to her highly-promising third at Sandown over a week ago when behind two Fillies’ Mile entrants in Classical Song and Beautiful Love for Ralph Beckett and Charlie Appleby respectively.
Although beaten 3L by the winner and only a head behind the runner-up, that was a serious performance on debut and Hannon has suggested the filly, who has always shown plenty at home, has come on for it.
The Wiltshire handler also says he’s “expecting a very bold show” here. Me too, Richard.
15:00 – Coltrane @ 5/4
I expect Andrew Balding’s Coltrane to win the G2 Betfred Doncaster Cup under Oisin Murphy.
The six-year-old has developed into a mainstay in the staying division and comes here off the back of what was arguably a career-best effort when winning the G2 Lonsdale Cup at York’s Ebor Festival the other week.
He won this race last year, beating Trueshan, and the latter is once again his main market rival. However, Alan King’s seven-year-old has a to overcome a 135-day lay-off after having wind surgery in May and his recent form points to a horse on the decline.
Sweet William is a horse I’m fond of, but ultimately he’s rated 14lbs inferior to the selection and lacks experience – while Broome and The Grand Visir would rate shock winners in my book.
I wouldn’t want much more rain, admittedly, but the forecast isn’t currently suggesting that and so I’m making Coltrane my NAP for Day 2.
15:35 – The Goat @ 9/4
One that wouldn’t be inconvenienced by further rain is The Goat, also for Balding/Murphy, who contests the 0-105 Betfred Mallard Handicap over 1m6½f.
I tipped the three-year-old son of Cracksman at 11/1 at Glorious Goodwood, but it’s fair to say I didn’t expect him to bolt up by 12L from an SP of 25/1.
He then went to the Ebor Festival at York and finished 6/13, beaten over 8L by Betfred St Leger hope Middle Earth. In hindsight, a good run given how keen he was early doors on rattling quick ground.
A return to these conditions should suit and I really believe he has more to give off his mark of 93. It helps that I don’t think this is a great race either.