It’s Betfred St Leger day, folks!
I’ve already looked specifically at the big race – see here – so this piece focuses on the other six contests that make up Day 3 of the Betfred St Leger Festival.
Topping my tips for the card is a 6/4 shot who should love likely conditions ahead of the Betfred Park Stakes at 15:00.
14:25 – Kimngrace e/w @ 14/1
The Betfred Portland – a Heritage Handicap over 5½f for 3yo+ – is one of Betfred’s two Extra Place Races from Doncaster on Saturday, and I intend to make use of that.
I think Richard Hughes’ four-year-old filly Kimngrace can go well off her lowest mark in over 12 months.
The daughter of Profitable has kept good company this season but has seen her lofty rating of 100 in April this year drop all the way down to 87, which she races off here.
Her latest reduction, of 2lbs to be precise, was for finishing 8/14, beaten just over two lengths, in a competitive event at York’s Ebor Festival late last month. Generous, in my opinion, given she didn’t have much luck in running and made eye-catching late headway.
This slightly longer trip on easier ground should suit and, with Betfred paying 5 places, I think she has a great chance of at least making the frame.
15:00 – Spycatcher @ 6/4
My most confident selection for Saturday’s card is Karl Burke’s five-year-old Spycatcher, who’s in the form of his life ahead of the G2 Betfred Park Stakes.
Successful in Group 3 company at Deauville in July, he returned to the French venue a month later and put up a career-best effort when going down narrowly at the highest level.
After those two runs, both on soft ground, he was withdrawn from the G1 Sprint Cup at Haydock the other week due to conditions, and instead comes here with everything likely to suit.
I’d be disappointed were he not to prove better than four of his rivals here, with John & Thady Gosden’s Audience the main danger.
Rated 116, he’s a very credible opponent, but he’s yet to run on anything worse than good to soft, which coincidentally was his worst performance of the season when dead last at Goodwood last month.
All things considered, I make Spycatcher very difficult to beat here.
16:10 – Simply Sondheim @ 9/2
Just over an hour later is a 0-105 handicap over 1m2f which has attracted just six runners – and the one I’m keen on is George Boughey’s four-year-old Simply Sondheim.
He was incredibly progressive last year, winning six on the bounce and subsequently rising from a mark of 56 to 87. A poor effort at Newmarket in October put an end to his winning run and season, but he returned this term better than ever.
Off 87, he won a handicap at Kempton first time out in April and then went close at Chelmsford off 3lb higher a couple of weeks later. Not so good after that, as he was 6/6 at Newmarket, but that was a good race and he wasn’t completely disgraced.
Given 120 days off, I’m willing chance Simply Sondheim, who goes well fresh, can bounce back.