Horse Racing: With leading pundit Charlie McCann. This week the former Talksport tipster picks out potential winners at the big Haydock and Leopardstown meetings.
Another fantastic weekend of racing with the final classic of the flat season the Ladbrokes St Leger from Doncaster today’s feature and the Arc trials at Longchamp tomorrow.
The Leger card begins with the Champagne Stakes and Godolphin can follow up last years’ win in the race courtesy of the once-raced Saamidd (2.10) who romped home by no less than 7l on debut at Newbury on ground softer than the official description of good.
At the time of writing the ground is drying out in Yorkshire but rain was forecast for Friday evening and there ought to be no excuses on account of the underfoot conditions. Approve and Waiter’s Dream have superior form in the book to the selection, both having won at York’s recent Ebor meeting, but they may not have met anything of the class of Saamid. Approve landed a sub-standard Gimcrack and must carry a 3lb penalty and I’m not convinced about the merits of Waiter’s Dream Acomb win although it was visually very impressive.
Saamidd is currently 16/1 for the 2011 2000 Guineas with Stan James and that price may contract substantially if he maintains his unbeaten record this afternoon.
Frankie Dettori rides Saamidd and it could be a red letter day for the Boys-In-Blue with Rewilding a worthy favourite for the St Leger on the back of his stunning success in the Gt Voltigeur at York last month. Both Godolphin and Dettori have five previous wins in the classic but it is new kid on the block Mahmood Al Zarooni who trains Rewilding rather than Saeed Bin Surror.
Rewilding (3.20) never threatened but ran on pleasingly in the Derby when third to Workforce on his penultimate start and promises to be at least as effective over today’s additional couple of furlongs. Any significant rain would not be a concern and with connections are already considering a crack at the Arc next.
Midas Touch and Joshua Tree finished behind the selection at York although it was the latter’s belated seasonal reappearance. Jamie Spencer keeps the ride and he and the first-time blinkered Arctic Cosmos are considered the main dangers. No filly has won the race since User Friendly back in 1992 but dual-Oaks winner Snow Fairy looks sure to have her supporters.
St Leger 2010: EW ¼ 1,2,3:
13-2 Arctic Cosmos
7 Joshua Tree
7 Midas Touch
8 Snow Fairy
The big betting race of the day is the Portland Handicap run over the unusual trip of five-and-a-half furlongs. Poet’s Place is a massive danger if the rains arrive but I just favour Deacon Blues (2.45) who has not had the best of luck in recent starts. Frankie Dettori (who else) takes over for the first time and Deacon Blues can reward each way support.
Senate (5.35) looked an ideal candidate for races such as the November Handicap when sluicing up at Leicester last time. He has been raised 8lbs for that win but he obviously relishes soft ground and if there is rain around he remains one to keep on the right side of this autumn.
At Goodwood, Nationalism (5.15) is entered in the Cambridgeshire and John Gosden’s lightly-raced three-year-old needs to win to improve his chances of getting in the Newmarket race. The step back up to 9f will help and being by Pivotal any rain is likely to be a positive. Itlaaq is a danger returning to the track after three months off and he is another at his best when the mud is flying this autumn.
Over at Sandown, Bramshaw suggested he was a winner-in-waiting when third, reappearing from a lengthy absence, at Kempton at the beginning of the month and with that run behind him he can land the 7f handicap (15.25) especially as there appears plenty of pace in the race.
Across the Irish Sea there is a cracking race for the National Stakes with the winner likely to be made antepost favourite for the 2011 2000 Guineas. Aidan O’Brien has won five of the last ten renewals and he saddles three including Zoffany so impressive when lowering the colours of Strong Suit in the Phoenix Stakes last month but marginal preference is for the unbeaten Pathfork (3.10).
The Irish St Leger is a very poor renewal with eight going to post. Profound Beauty has never won above Gp 3 level but she is a worthy favourite although she must reverse Curragh Cup running with Tactic (3lb worse off) from earlier in the season.
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