DONCASTER ST LEGER MEETING – DAY 3 (FRIDAY)

Doncaster 13:55 Day three of the St Leger meeting at the Yorkshire track gets underway with the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes over 7 furlongs. Jeremy Noseda has openly stated that he believes his superstar filly Nemoralia is a Group 1 winner in the making and who could argue with him after her taking victory in the City of York stakes last month. She carries a 3lb penalty here for that comprehensive success, but should be able to shrug that off here on route to another victory in a race that will not take much winning at all. She is of course the confident selection and expect a comprehensive win on route to another crack at the Group 1 level at Keeneland mid-October. Mark Johnston’s Lumiere looks to the one most likely to give the selection any problems if finding her blistering best form. The horse has proved somewhat frustrating to follow this term after looking like a breath taking prospect last season. She failed to live up to the billing when all but tailed off in both the 1000 Guineas and the Prix Rothschild. A comprehensive listed win in between will have given connections hope for today, but even her best may not be enough to topple the favourite. Same Jurisdiction is an intriguing contender here as her makes his debut for trainer Ed Dunlop after Group 1 success in South Africa. Interesting to see how that form holds up in Britain, she does have the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle to give her the best chance, but would need to be very special indeed to trouble the principles. Nemoralia (WIN)

14:30 Doncaster This year’s renewal of the Group 2 Flying Childers over five furlongs looks to be an exciting contest between some of this season’s speediest two year olds. Mark Johnston is double-handed here with The Last Lion and Yalta. The former scored Group 3 success on the all weather at Kempton last weekend over 6f and is turned out quickly here today, but is well held by his stablemate Yalta on the Molecomb form earlier in the season so the latter is an interesting contender. That Molecomb success was mightily impressive, and despite coming up short against the best sprinters at York last time, a repeat of that Glorious Goodwood form will see him land the spoils here so he gets the nod. There are dangers aplenty in a highly competitive field. Hugo Palmer’s Afandem looks to be the leading one of them after a Group 3 success in France. This one is much tougher, although he ran a cracker when just failing to concede weight all round in a listed contest at York previously and so looks a rock solid challenger to the selection. Clive Cox lines up Tis Marvellous here and sees this as a more realistic target for his speedster after being comprehensively put to the sword by the impressive Lady Aurelia in the Prix Morny last time out. The horse is a previous Group 2 winner after a top success in the Prix Robert Papin, but has to cope with drop back to the minimum trip today. Yalta (E/W)

15:05 Doncaster The Mallard Stakes is traditionally seen as the compensation race for the Ebor Handicap so it would be foolish to ignore the form of some of this year’s Ebor contenders who line up here. Brian Ellison’s Seamour has a number good staying efforts on the CV this term and was fifth off this mark in the aforementioned contest. He previously recorded a good runner up spot in the Northumberland Plate, so capable of running its race again here to make the frame, but no room for error and best to look elsewhere for the win purposes. One place ahead of the Ellison horse in the Ebor was the Roger Varian trained Battersea. The five-year-old was runner up in the race last year, but does come here 10lb higher this term. The horse has been in top class form this season and may still take a hand in a less competitive renewal. The horse to follow though looks to be the Michael Bell trained Fabricate. The Queen’s horse comes here off the back of three solid efforts in highly competitive handicaps this term and is still really lightly raced for a four-year-old. The latest placed effort in a listed contest at Chester would put him right in the mix here and the services of ex-champion jockey Ryan Moore only enhances his chances so he gets the confident nod here. Fabricate (E/W if 9/2+)

15:40 Doncaster The absence of top contender Mizzou has left a bit of a void in the field for this year’s Doncaster Cup, but the main protagonists departure only means the remaining contenders are locked in an even more competitive contest. Roger Charlton’s Quest For More is now at the front of the betting and rightly so as well after getting back to his very best form to land the Lonsdale Cup at York in impressive fashion at York last time out. The six-year-old had both Clever Cookie and Curbyourenthusiasm in behind that day and is reunited with George Baker in the saddle and can make the frame here. Ryan Moore has won this contest three times since 2009, and he looks to have yet another big chance to add to that tally today on board the Wullie Mullins trained Clondaw Warrior. The top trainer believes that track and trip will be just what their horse needs and believe he is in the the same type of form that saw him pipped close home in the race twelve months ago. The horse won the Galway plate in July before a fine run in the American St Leger at Arlington last month so he looks poised for a big run and gets the nod here. Another horse who can run well at bigger odds is the Sir Mark Prescott trained St Michel. The three-year-old has progressed from a rating of just 69 right up to its current mark of 99 for this race when upped in trip and sent handicapping this season. The step up to Group 2 action is a massive jump in class here. The shrewd trainer bids to follow up last year’s win in the race with Pallasator so could rule out a big run, but it is also bidding to be the first three-year-old since 2011 to win the race and so the selection looks the more solid bet. Clondaw Warrior (WIN)

16:15 Doncaster This looks to be a really difficult race to be overly confident in any selection as five of the seven runners won last time out and two of these make only their second appearance on a racecourse. All seven are open to further improvement but the one I am opting for is Larchmont Lad who raced three-wide throughout at Sandown in July but still stormed home to win by over three lengths. He had four subsequent winners in behind that day and looks good value at early odds of around 6/1. Taamol drifted quite badly under pressure on his only visit to a racecourse so far but quickened away nicely to put his race to bed in a matter of strides, so its not difficult to see why he’s the favourite for this race. However the price doesn’t look overly enticing especially with many of his rivals also showing good levels of ability and the potential to improve further. Salsabeel is another with just one race under his belt and had to wait an age to find a gap but once it came he really motored and although the winning margin was only half a length he was well in command at the line. The front three were six lengths clear of the rest of the field and both the second and third have won since so he is afforded the utmost respect. Larchmont Lad (WIN)

16:50 Doncaster As with the previous race its not difficult to see why the favourite sits at the head of the market. Khairaat won last time out by over three lengths and is again partnered with Paul Hanagan who has a fantastic winning strike rate when riding for Sir Michael Stoute. However he has an extra two furlongs to cover today and although the ground has been drying out there is more rain scheduled so he may find it a step too far taking on this trip on likely softer ground. At the prices, preference is for the Roger Varian trained Winterval who is proven over todays’ trip and whose yard is operating at a 36% winning strike rate over the last two weeks. He has made the frame in four from seven career runs and returned from a ten month break in May, going down by just a neck to Ice Slice who has won twice since. Both third and fourth from that race have won three times since so the form is holding up really well and at early odds of around 6/1 he looks to be a cracking each way bet. At the foot of the weights Indulged is an interesting runner for James Fanshawe, a trainer that tends to do well towards the back end of the flat season, while both Rotherwick and Peterhouse are consistent performers although both have a habit of finding one too good and may be looking at minor honours at best here. Winterval (E/W if 9/2+)

17:25 Doncaster The final race of day three sees ten runners scheduled to go to post with a couple arriving with something to prove. Shore Step is a course and distance winner but is yet to really fire so far this summer. He did post an improved effort at Ffos Las towards the end of August although was still only mid-divison, almost three lengths behind the winner. With Silvestre De Sousa taking over in the saddle he is an interesting runner but I feel if backing him it would be more with hope than expectation. Northgate Lad has improved in each of his four runs this year but has only won over the minimum trip and both recent placed efforts came on the all-weather, while Get Knotted has won five and placed in five from nineteen career runs but may find todays’ trip on the sharp side, so preference is for Richard Fahey’s runner Nuno Tristan. The four year old ran well when last seen at Goodwood, finishing fourth and just over a length off the winner. He ran out a convincing winner on good-to-soft ground at Redcar in June so should handle conditions and his racing style suggests the booking of Jamie Spencer could be an inspired booking as he likes to come from off the pace to pounce late on, something that the jockey is a master of. Nuno Tristan (WIN)


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