Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap Tips

betfred-cesarewitch-handicap-tips

John Wootton: Racing on the Round Course at Newmarket c 1750

Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap 2m 2f Newmarket Saturday – The Cesarewitch isn’t the longest flat race in the Calendar but is certainly one of the most stamina sapping. Starting in Cambridgeshire, the 2m2f contest takes a sharp right hand turn, and the large field then has to endure a non-stop relentless gallop up the Rowley Mile, to finish in the neighbouring county of Suffolk. Faced with such a challenge it comes as no great surprise, that almost invariably, the winner boasts previous winning form at two miles on the Flat or over hurdles. Surprisingly for such a long race the draw has proved significant, with thirteen of the sixteen winners this century starting from a berth lower than nineteen. Another relevant statistic is that half the winners in the same period have come from yards predominantly National Hunt in character, a stat which makes David Pipe’s 5yo, Starchitect, of definite interest.

Pipe Junior has never won the race, (has gone close on two occasions) but his father Martin hit the back of the net twice, (Heros Fatal, 2000 and Miss Fara two years later) so they certainly know what is required down at Nicholashayne. Starchitect is a beautifully bred animal, by Sea the Stars out of a Sadlers Wells mare, and he is better known for his achievements as a hurdler. He came second in the hugely competitive Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in Febuary, and put up solid performances at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals. He demonstrated his stamina credentials for this when winning over 21f in his last outing over hurdles, earning the impressive NH rating of 150. He won the last of his five flat starts, a 14f Salisbury handicap in May, earning a rating of 89 and virtually assuring himself of a place in Saturday’s contest. In the light of his NH rating he looks really well treated, and it will come as no surprise to see him involved at the business end on Saturday.

Read the Oddsguru’s 2015 race preview.

Sir Mark Prescott’s 3yo colt St Michael, ran a fine race to finish 3rd in a truly run, 2m2f Doncaster Cup, twenty nine days ago, finishing 3rd, a nose and 2 1/4L behind Sheikzayedroad and Quest for More, and, as the latter won the Group1 Prix du Cadran at Chantilly last Saturday, the form looks pretty impressive. As St Michael stuck on well at Doncaster, and had won his two previous races authoritatively, with only 8st6lbs on his back at the weekend, he certainly looks well treated, and is a worthy favourite. However he does need four above him in the handicap to come out if he is to get a run, so a waiting brief is advised.

Horses who have performed well in The Cesarewitch often do so again, so connections of last year’s hero Grumeti, must be hoping that at least three above him drop out, and he gets a run. He hasn’t exactly been setting the world alight following last years triumph, but he has had a nice break since June and is only 1lb higher than last year. A repeat of last years 50/1 victory is not just a forlorn hope!

Tony Martin won this with Leg Spinner in 2007 and attempts to bring home the bacon for the second time with the very useful Pyromaniac. The 6yo looks well treated on a mark of 87, and he ran a sound race last time, going down by a neck to stable companion, Quick Jack over 14f at Leopardstown four weeks ago off the same mark.The question is will he stay, as he has been campaigned mostly at distances shorter than 2m. However he did win his only race over two miles, a highly competitive Curragh handicap back in May 2015, and more recently was seen finishing to some effect in a strongly run Killarney 17f handicap hurdle, to take third place. He has been finishing his races off well, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that his uber-shrewd handler thinks that his contender might well be suited by this step up in trip. Another for the shortlist!

David Simcock runs his strong stayer, The Cashel Man, and the 4yo gelding did his prospects no harm at all when coming home in second place in the trial for this three weeks ago, which was run over the course and distance. He was beaten 3L off Saturday’s mark of 89, but as the race was very steadily run, in a time more than 15 seconds slower than standard, and the horse suffered interference 4f out, he can only benefit from a much truer run contest at the weekend. Worth considering!

The 9yo Irish mare, Jennies Jewel has won three of her seven flat races, including this year’s Ascot Stakes over 20f at the Royal Meeting. She showed courage in abundance that day, making all, and holding on to deny Qewy by a neck. She was beaten early on in a heavy ground 2m Curragh handicap three weeks ago, but after more than three months off the racecourse she is easily excused. This admirable Grade3 winning chaser, and Grade1 placed hurdler, racing on Saturday off a mark only 5lbs higher than Royal Ascot, could make her presence felt, particularly if we get some rain.

Selection: Starchitect

E.W. : The Cashel Man

Doom Bar Celebration Mile Betting Tips

Doom Bar Celebration Mile (Group2) Goodwood Saturday – There have been thirty eight renewals of the Celebration Mile since it’s elevation to Group2 status in 1977 and the classic generation, with 23 wins have definitely had the best of the argument. Sir Michael Stoute has trained the winner an impressive eight times, and on five of those occasions it was a 3yo who gained the honours, so his representative this year, Thikriyaat has to be of interest.

A 3yo gelded son of Azamour he has won four of his five races commencing with an All Weather victory over a mile on his sole 2yo appearance. Dropped back to seven furlongs for his reappearance at Newmarket in April, he won gamely from Tabaarak, who won next time out. Stepped up to Cl1 level for his next race, (7f Newmarket Gd-Fm May 14) he won again in solid workmanlike fashion. In his next contest he was sent off an 8/1 shot in the highly competitive Jersey Stakes (7f Sft) at the Royal Meeting. Despite a difficult passage he finished a highly commendable second, (beaten 2 1/2L) to the subsequent Deauville Group1 winner, and the close third to the Gurkha in the Group1 Sussex Stakes, Ribchester. Stepped back up to a mile over Saturday’s course and distance, (Gd-Fm) twenty nine days ago, he won again in his hallmark, tough, workmanlike style, and this doughty competitor, who seems to handle most conditions, looks the type who will be hard to beat at the weekend.

Clive Cox won this last year with a progressive 3yo, Kodi Bear, and is trying for a repeat with a similar type in Zonderland. This son of Dutch Art won a listed race at Sandown, (1m Gd-Fm) in May, and was then pitched in at the deep end when asked to tackle Group1 company in the Prix Jean-Prat at Chantilly six weeks later. He finished an abysmal eighth of nine, out the back, but showed he was back on track next time, when winning a Salisbury Group3 (1m Gd-Fm). The form doesn’t amount to a great deal but it does show the Cox contender is going the right way and suggests the Chantilly race can be ignored.

Richard Hannon’s admirable 5yo Toormore’s score is two wins and a place from four Goodwood appearances, and he put up yet another fine course performance last time, when finishing fourth to The Gurkha in the Sussex Stakes thirty one days ago. Both his course wins have been over 7f, but having won a Group2 contest over Sandowns stiff mile there are no stamina doubts. One of the leading two year olds of his generation, and a winner of the Group1 National Stakes at the Curragh, Toormore is still an entire, and connections must entertain hopes of this son of Arakan joining the stallion ranks when he eventually retires from the track. It will come as no surprise to see him involved at the finish so long as “firm” doesn’t appear in the going description, as he hasn’t won on ground faster than good.

Another contender at the weekend who would prefer good or softer ground is the William Haggas trained 4yo colt Hathal. Bought at the “Breeze-Ups”for the hefty sum of 320,000gns, he has yet to justify his mega price tag, but did show signs in his last two runs, that suggest it might be in the right ballpark. He went down to My Dream Boat by 2 1/2L in a 1 mile York handicap (Aug 21 2015) when giving the winner 7lbs, but the subsequent career of the victor has shown what a good performance that was, as My Dream Boat is now rated fully 30lbs higher. Hathal went on to take a Newbury listed race four weeks later (Sep 18 2015 7f Sft) but has been off the course since. It is a big ask to expect the Haggas horse to win as competitive race as this after a break of 344 days but his talented trainer is a past master at producing them at their best after a long absence, and it will not be a great surprise to see Hathal repay another slice of that large purchase price.

Having won the Group3 Diomed Stakes in June 2015, the Group2 Summer Mile the following month and finished a close second to Solow in the Group1 Sussex stakes a few weeks later, the future looked bright indeed for Peter Chappell-Hyam’s now 5yo, Arod. However in his next five races the wheels seem to have come off, and apart from a respectable display on his reappearance, the rest has been very disappointing. However the stable has been going through a prolonged period of underperformance which has to end sometime, and they obviously haven’t given up on their talented son of Teofilo. Certainly if this 5yo entire could bounce back and repeat his fine performance in last years Sussex Stakes he would be a danger to all.

Selection: Thikriyaat

E.W. : Toormore

Temple Stakes Betting Tips

Temple Stakes Betting Tips 5f Group2 Haydock Saturday.

I hope you were on last week’s selection, Belardo, the 8/1 winner of the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes. Slowly out of the gate, he went left and was soon behind. However Andrea Atzeni always had the field covered, and when he pressed the button inside the final furlong the response was immediate, and he took the lead in the style of a top class animal. This was reminiscent of his victory in the Group1 Dewhurst as a 2yo, when Atzeni was also on top, and he does seem to have an excellent rapport with the horse. Belardo’s action does require some give in the surface for him to perform to his optimum, and given such conditions on the first day of Royal Ascot, he would definitely appeal in the opening heat, The Queen Anne Stakes.

Mecca’s Angel is another animal who loves to get her toe in, and I’m sure connections would love to see the heavens open in advance of Saturday’s Temple Stakes at Haydock. Last year she made her seasonal debut in a Longchamp Group3, winning comfortably on easy ground. She was found out ten weeks later at the Curragh on good ground, going down by a neck to the useful Stepper Point, but next time, back on good-soft ground she covered herself in glory winning the Group1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in some style. The flying American 2yo filly, Acapulco, who had earlier won the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal, meeting was sent off the 13/8 favourite, but even in receipt of 24lbs she couldn’t resist Mecca’s Angel’s devastating late burst inside the last 100 yards and was beaten 2L. She didn’t run in the Prix D’Labbaye because of the fast ground and was put away for the season. Having won in the Spring in all three of her campaigns, and indeed finished in front first time out for the last two seasons, she is clearly a mare who comes to hand early, so with plenty of wet weather forecast, she has to be fancied and it may be worth availing of the 3/1 currently on offer.

Top trainer of sprinters, Robert Cowell, is mob handed with five entered at the time of writing. They include the 2013 winner Kingsgate Native and it would be wonderful to see this 11yo veteran do it again, but realistically his best chance lies with the 7yo Oasis Dream gelding, Goldream. Another proverbial “Fine Wine” he didn’t try his hand at group class until last May when he won the Group3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. Better was to come with two Group1 victories, in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot, and The Prix D’ Labbaye at Longchamp. He has been disappointing in his two outings so far this term, both in Dubai in March, but his trainer now reports him back to his best. However he is another who is ground dependant, needing a fast surface to show his best and the current forecast is not in his favour. Also he has a Group1 penalty to carry so perhaps he is one for later in the season.

Clive Cox’s 4yo Invincible Spirit colt, Profitable demonstrated that he is a sprinter on the “up” last time when winning the Palace House Stakes in taking fashion where he stayed on strongly to get the better of Jungle Cat, and Waady. As the Cox horse drifted from 16/1 to 20/1 and Waady was backed in to 9/2 favourite it is reasonable to suppose that Profitable has the greater scope for improvement and is likely to confirm the form. Partnered again by Adam Kirby, who has been in the plate for all three of his victories he is well worth considering.

Edward Lynam’s super old warrior Sole Power won this five years ago and judging by his run at Meydan at the beginning of March it wouldn’t come as a great surprise to see him do it again. As always held up he came with a great run and only failed by a nose and a short head to get up to beat Fityaan and Jungle Cat. Both subsequent efforts have been less encouraging but given good ground you ignore this 5f specialist and winner of over £2,000,000 in prize money at your peril.

The 7yo entire, Pearl Secret, having been second to Hot Streak in this in 2014, he took the main prize last year. He failed to hit the back of the net in his next six races but put in some great efforts in defeat, not least when finishing 4th in the Prix D’Labbaye at Longchamp in October. Drawn out with the washing in stall fifteen jockey Atzeni had little choice but to drop him in and he travelled in last place until approaching the final furlong where he finished well to finish fourth. Oisin Murphy is in the plate at the weekend and his chance is respected but it is worth noting that this is his first run of the season and his previous win and second in the event were preceded by a race. Is he match fit?

Selection : Mecca’s Angel

E.W.      :  Profitable

bet365 Gold Cup Chase Tips

bet365 Gold Cup Chase 3m5f Sandown Saturday – I hope you backed last week’s selection, Vicente, in the Scottish Grand National. What a great race he ran, always travelling comfortably, just off the pace, he stayed on really strongly to outstay Alvarado and See You At Midnight and won with something in hand at the rewarding odds of 14/1. Only seven, he is going to be a force in staying chases next season, and is one to bear in mind come Aintree in April. Our E.W. selection, Royale Knight, also ran a cracker and looked a possible winner approaching the second last, but could only run on at one pace to hold onto 4th place at odds of 20/1 in the 28 runner field. All in all a very satisfactory result! Saturday’s contest looks just as difficult a puzzle to solve but here are some suggestions.

Peter Bowen’s 8yo, Henri Parry Morgan has only run 5 times over fences, and having finished last in the first of them, he got rid of his jockey in the second. However his last three runs have been much more promising, winning easily at Chepstow (2m7 1/2f) at the end of Febuary off a mark of 122, and then trotting up at Uttoxeter three weeks later in a very good time for the conditions, off a 13lbs higher mark. Last time he took a step up in class when finishing a good second in a Grade1 3m chase at Aintree where he had the talented Blaklion 3 1/2l back in third. He is clearly an animal on the up, and as his dam is by that great influence for stamina, Over The River, even more can be expected tackling Saturday’s trip. Although up 14lbs since his Uttoxeter,stroll in the park, he is well worth considering.

Neill Mulholland has three entered at the time of writing and two of them, Carole ‘s Destrier, and The Young Master are of definite interest. The former has had a very light season having run only three times since last April, and put up a very telling performance in the second of them, when registering a comfortable course and distance victory last December off a mark of 146 under Noel Fehilly. His talented trainer has only run him once since, avoiding the heavy winter ground, (p/u at the festival) and arrives here a well handicapped (151) and fresh horse. One for the short list!

His stable companion The Young Master had the 2014 Badger Ales trophy taken off him due to a technicality but went on to win an Ascot handicap off a mark of 144 the following month. He hasn’t hit the back of the net since but did finish a staying on 3rd at the festival, (3m1f) albeit beaten 16L. He won a 3m3f heavy ground hurdle race as a 5yo so could be well suited by Saturday’s trip and off a mark of 148 looks well treated. Presumably he will be ridden by his part owner, the very useful 3lbs claiming amateur R. Waley-Cohen, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st 12lbs. Well suited by a right hand track he has plenty to recommend him.

With Nicholls and Mullins going head to head for the trainers championship the outcome of Saturday’s contest could be of huge significance, and at the time of writing they account for seven of the weekend contenders between them. Nicholls best chance would seem to lie with the 8yo Southfield Theatre who races off a mark of 150, and if successful would give the Ditcheat handler his fifth success in the race. This time last year he looked an animal going places with three chase victories and a second to Don Poli in the RSA to his credit, but this season things haven’t gone to plan. He was sent off a 7/2 chance in a three runner affair at Sandown in November, but after a poor round of jumping finished a remote last, 44L behind Coneygree. He again finished last in his next race, this time 56L behind Don Poli at Aintree in December. He was making some progress last time when brought down at the Festival, and perhaps Master Trainer Nicholls has worked the Oracle and it’s possible we will see a much better performance on Saturday. However it is still hard to understand why the bookmakers have made him favourite and is impossible to recommend.

The Irish record in this isn’t great with only three victories in the last twenty years, but anything Willie Mullins runs has to be taken seriously and his 10yo Sir Des Champs would be of interest if turning up. This triple Grade1 winner fell at the Chair in the National but wouldn’t have found the soft ground ideal. He has won five of his seven races going right handed, is not badly handicapped and on what is likely to be decent ground at the weekend could easily outrun his odds of 25/1.

Selection : The Young Master

E.W. : Sir Des Champs (if abs) Carole’s Destrier

Grimthorpe Chase handicap 3m2f Doncaster

As a Grand National trial the Grimthorpe has been pretty significant, providing three winners of the Aintree Spectacular, Ben Nevis, Corbiere, and Amberleigh House. It requires a touch of class to carry big weights with only two winners, the very talented duo, Cloudy Lane and Grey Abbey managing a burden over 11st in recent renewals. All recent winners have boasted decent form in their penultimate contests, with the exception of last years victor, the 11yo Wayward Prince, who had the unflattering figures of F-6PP before his name. Age isn’t a significant factor with winners coming from the 8-11yo age bracket over the last decade, but stamina has been of paramount importance. Doncaster on the face of it isn’t a testing course but these handicap chases tend to be run with the throttle out, and if they go for home from the four furlong marker it takes a strong stayer to win. Previous successful protagonists with contenders at the weekend are Kim Bailey, who won way back in 1994, Paul Nicholls (2000) and Nicky Henderson (2010). Having been in the racing Doldrums for many years, since the halcyon days of March 1995, when taking the Champion Hurdle on the Tuesday with Alderbrook and the Gold Cup two days later with Master Oats, Kim Baileys fortunes have taken a very welcome turn for the better in recent seasons, and he fields the likely favourite for Saturday’s contest.

His 8yo The Last Samurai was no slouch when trained by Donald McCain, last year winning three of his fives starts, and he has continued to progress under his new handler. He is now on a mark of 149, 12lbs higher than when leaving the Cheshire yard. Last time out (27 Dec Kempton 3m Gd-soft) he showed a nice blend of speed and stamina when quickening nicely after the last, he ran on well to win comfortably off a mark of 140. This was a £25,000 contest run at a decent clip so despite the form not working out I suppose the 9lb rise to 149 is justified. He is certainly prominent in most ante post markets for the Aintree Spectacular so should be to the fore off his new mark.

Charlie Longsdon’s 8yo stayer, Drop Out Joe is another on a sharp upward trajectory, and is now on a mark 18lbs higher than when winning off 133 at Chepstow (2m7 1/2f Good) last October. He went on to take the Badger Ales chase in November at Wincanton (3m1f soft), staying on well to beat Royal Palladium by 1/2L off a mark of 143. He is obviously a much improved performer since coming second in this last year, off a mark of 132, when a well backed 9/2. He does seem to have it all to do off a 19lbs higher mark, but in his favour he has won on all three occasions following a decent break, and with the Longsdon stable going well is considered.

The stable also runs the 7yo Coologue and if turning up, this will be his fourth consecutive course appearance. He has run well on all three previous occasions particularly last time when going down by 3 1/2L, off a mark of 139, to the useful Ziga Boy, who was receiving 6lbs (3m Good). He was staying on nicely that day and had that good yardstick Buywise 1/2L behind in third, so on only a 2lbs higher mark, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st9lbs is well worth considering.

Alan King’s 8yo Sego Success was an impressive winner over the course (3miles) off a mark of 139 in December, indeed he looked as if he could go around again, and was subsequently sent off the 7/1 fav for the Gd3 3m5f chase at Warwick five weeks later. In what was a ludicrously fast start for such a marathon he came a cropper at the second. His shrewd trainer wisely avoided a marathon slog in the Haydock mud a few weeks ago so comes here a fresh horse only 7lbs higher than for that impressive win on his last visit.

Nicky Henderson’s Bears Affair is well suited by a flat left handed track on good ground and a repeat of his Aintree win (3m1f) last May would make him interesting. He had Drop Out Joe 3 3/4L back in 4th and meets him on a stone better terms. The winner did have the benefit of Freddie Mitchell’s 7lbs claim, and the fourth horse has improved since, but the Henderson runner still looks reasonably treated.

Paul Nicholls Grand National hope, the 8yo Wonderful Charm will be well served by better ground than he raced on at Cheltenham last time out (Dec11 3m 2f Soft). He was a well beaten 2nd off a mark of 159, 17L behind the winner Aachen, to whom he was conceding 31lbs. As the winner was just pipped off a mark of 146 next time, and considering Wonderful Charms preference for a drier surface, the run can be considered in a very positive light, so Saturday’s mark of 158 looks fair. Three times a winner at Gd2 and Cl1 level, he has that touch of class that may enable him to become the first since Grey Abbey in 2004 to defy top weight of 11st12lbs.

Selection : Wonderful Charm

E.W. : Sego Success

Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle Haydock 2ml 7f Saturday

Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle Haydock 2ml 7f Saturday

Saturday’s contest is run over obstacles based on the French hurdle design, which is similar to a plain fence but lower in height, and significantly, unlike the British design, are of very rigid and inflexible construction, so it comes as no surprise that many subsequent top chasers, such as Grand Crus and Dynaste have won the race, and Holywell and Synchronised have been placed.

David Pipe has won three of the ten renewals of the contest, but given the likely conditions at the weekend and the current low strike rate of the Nicholashayne operation his two representatives, Low Key, and Batavir are passed over. However the man with the second best record in the race, Nick Williams, who has hit the back of the net on two occasions, runs the six year old Tea for Two, and he isn’t so easy to dismiss.

He breezed up in the 21f Lanzarote hurdle last January off a mark of 134, winning by 16L, but was hit with a 19lbs rise for his trouble. Having disappointed in his next two races he has been cut some slack by the handicapper and raced with some promise, off a mark of 142 finishing sixth, on his reappearance at Chepstow six weeks ago. By Kayf Tara, Saturday’s 23f shouldn’t present any problems and again enjoying the benefit of Lizzie Kelly’s 5lbs claim he looks a well handicapped horse off his new mark of 141, only 7lbs higher than for his Lanzarote romp.

With a greater emphasis on stamina likely at the weekend, Warren Greatrex certainly has a candidate in Shantou Bob bred for the job. The seven year old is by the St Leger winner, Shantou, out of a Bob Back mare so Saturday’s 23f should hold no fears. He relished testing conditions in only his third race over hurdles, when failing by the shortest of margins to get the better of Vyta Du Roc in a Cl1 Gd2 novices hurdle at Sandown last December. He was staying on with great resolution, and the effort was even more meritorious as he lost a shoe causing him to hang. He broke a blood vessel when odds on in his next race and was a little disappointing at the Festival over three miles, but did run on well to finish sixth. Very lightly raced one feels the best is still to come from Shantou Bob and a reproduction of his Sandown effort would put him firmly in the mix.

Venetia Williams’s French-bred 5yo Yala Enki looked an animal going places when hosing up in a 21 1/2f novices hurdle at Exeter eighteen days ago, making all, and winning by sixteen lengths. A winner over fences in France he is clearly a pretty versatile young horse and as six of the ten winners have hailed from his country of birth, and five of the last six first past the post, have been five year olds, the stats certainly point firmly in his direction.

Brian Ellison’s 6yo Definitly Red showed the right attitude, when despite a ground losing mistake at the third last, he fought back to beat the favourite, Fletchers Flyer, over three miles at the course in Febuary on soft ground. He was pulled up at the Festival, but this winner of two listed bumpers in testing conditions at Newbury and Cheltenham, (also won a heavy ground Uttoxeter bumper) definitly has an engine and looks well treated off a mark of 138, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st10lbs. A winner first time out for the last two years, he is well worth considering.

Emma Lavelle’s triple course winner, Closing Ceremony, is worth a second look. He was beaten in a 26f Warwick slog by Join The Clan, to whom he was conceding 22lbs, (including Patrick Cowleys 10lb allowance) last January off a mark of 134, but made a very good impression five weeks later when making all in a Cl1 Gd2 hurdle over three miles at Haydock, in a time four seconds faster than Definitly Red managed on the same day. While such time comparisons can be slightly spurious this stout stayer is clearly on the up, and will definitly improve for his reappearance run behind Aqualim three weeks ago.

Selection : Shantou Bob

E.W. : Definitly Redhaydock park

St Leger Stakes 1m6f 132yds Saturday

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O’Brien’s contender, Order Of St George, wouldn’t have impressed as a potential Leger winner when finishing second to Parish Boy at Leopardstown last October, but has really come into his own as a three year old.

Our E.W. Selection, Magical Memory, certainly belied his odds of 14/1 when finishing third in last week’s Gp1 Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. Always travelling very well within himself, he looked the most likely winner for most of the race, but probably got to the front just too soon. If he goes to Longchamp for the Prix de L’Abbe on Arc day his style of racing would be well suited to the furlong shorter trip, and is one to keep in mind. Saturday’s final English classic, the St Leger provides a test at the other end of the distance spectrum, and looks a fairly open contest.

Aidan O’Brien who has already bagged four St Leger victories (but has someway to go to match the nineteenth century handler, John Scott, who trained an amazing sixteen winners between 1827 and 1862) is triple handed, and all three go there with chances. Interestingly all three are by the outstanding Coolmore stallion, Galileo, and two of them, Bondi Beach and Fields of Athenry, boast an even closer relationship, both being out of Danehill mares. All three have won over 1m6f at either listed or group level so stamina shouldn’t be an issue.

Despite being drawn out with the washing, Fields of Athenry ran a decent race in the Ebor handicap. Drawn 22 and racing off an eye watering mark of 118, he finished a respectable fifth, despite not getting the greatest of rides from his 5lbs claiming pilot. He did have a hard race on the Knavesmire, but a reproduction of the form he showed the previous time he tackled the distance, at Leopardstown in July, when coasting to victory over the useful four year old Silwana would certainly put him firmly in the picture.

A winner of two of his four races, Bondi Beach is showing the benefit of his patient handling by the master of Ballydoyle. Unraced as a 2yo he made his racecourse debut at Leopardstown in May and under a hands and heels ride from Seamie Heffernan, won by a short head from the hot favourite Bantry Bay. He was a slightly unlucky second over 1m4f four weeks later, but upped to 1m6f next time he won a Gp3 by a short head from stable companion Order Of St George. Reverting to 1m4f in the Gp2 Great Voltigeur seven weeks later he looked an unlucky looser. Backed in to 11/4 favourite he was making steady progress over the last three furlongs when taking a bump one hundred and fifty yards out from Storm The Stars, who then carried him continuously to the left. He went down by 1/2L and in the subsequent controversial stewards inquiry, despite the jockey being stood down for three days the Haggas horse was allowed to keep the race. To this observer the best horse was second, and with an extra two and a half furlongs to travel at the weekend has excellent prospects of reversing the placings.

The third O’Brien contender, Order Of St George, wouldn’t have impressed as a potential Leger winner when finishing second to Parish Boy at Leopardstown last October, but has really come into his own as a three year old. On his reappearance, he ran stable companion Bondi Beach, who had the benefit of two previous runs to a shd, and then had little more than an exercise canter when winning at Down Royal four weeks later. On his latest appearance, Gp3 1m6f sft at the Curragh, he looked most impressive, winning by 7L and 8L from Seamoon and Kingfisher. He has clearly thrived since upped in trip and looks the one to beat on Saturday.

Storm The Stars who has accumulated £535,000 in win and place money must be a lovely animal to own. He ran two marvellous races when coming third in The Derby, and second in the Irish Equivalent. He demonstrated his toughness when coming third in a Longchamp Gp1, only seventeen days after his Irish Exertions and showed no signs of tiredness when collecting at York. He is a thoroughly genuine and likeable horse, but has had a very demanding season, and with some stamina doubts on the distaff, is passed over.

The French colt Vengeur Masque is bred to stay all day and ran a decent race last time at Deauville, 1m4 1/2f, finishing 4th. Unless the step up in distance elicits abnormal improvement it’s hard to see him being involved,

Selection: Order Of St George

Danger. : Bondi Beach