CENSUS (3.10) looks the sensible each-way call trading around 9-2 in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster. Richard Hannon has always harboured a high opinion of his colt and this view was reinforced after watching him work very well in a spin at Salisbury racecourse in his build-up to the final Classic of the season.
Census, a fine stamp of a horse, has progressed throughout the year and there was plenty to like about the businesslike way he disposed of Brown Panther at Newbury. Ideally, a few showers would be welcomed on Town Moor as Census would probably prefer the ground just on the soft side of good. Hot favourite Sea Moon demolished a select field in the Sportingbet.com Great Voltigeur at York in the hands of Richard Hughes, but the jockey stays loyal to his stable’s Census on the big occasion.
Ladbrokes also sponsor the Portland Handicap and, with a maximum 22 sprinters going to post, finding the proverbial needle in a haystack is a tall order. That said, WAFFLE (2.35) almost landed us a big pay-day at Royal Ascot, only failing by a neck to peg back the progressive Deacon Blues. He has disappointed in two subsequent outings at Newcastle and Ripon, and David Barron reaches for a first-time visor in a bid to turn around his horse’s fortunes. Throw in the booking of Hughes and it is easy to make an each-way case for Waffle.
SWIFT ALHAARTH (5.25) has competed with distinction in some tough middle-distance handicaps this summer and again showed plenty of dash at Ascot last weekend when failing narrowly to contain Barbican and Spifer in a desperate finish. This came hot on the heels of two excellent efforts behind Parlour Games (Ascot) and Labarinto (Goodwood), and Mark Johnston’s front-runner is capable of treading a belated path to the winner’s circle.
At Goodwood, CEILIDH HOUSE (2.20) should go close in the Betfred-sponsored Select Stakes. She missed an engagement earlier in the week to wait for this event and recent rain will have helped her chances. Ceilidh House has been seen only once in public this season, turning in a fine third to Timepiece and Sea Of Heartbreak in the Warwickshire Oaks.
DEBUSSY (3.30) ran as a pacemaker for ill-fated stablemate Rewilding in the King George and has his sights lowered considerably in the Star Sports Stand Cup at Chester. Formerly trained by John Gosden, Debussy would be a good thing if recapturing the sparkle of his run behind Twice Over and Vision D’Etat in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket last autumn. However, he has been well below that level of form in the Godolphin silks and connections will be hoping a return to the Roodee, where he beat Les Fazzani two lengths last August, will rekindle some of his old fire.
The opening maiden at Bath presents MOMENT OF TIME (2.15) with a gilt-edged opening. Andrew Balding’s filly ran third in a Listed event at Newbury in June and this daughter of Rainbow Quest should be well suited by the softer ground.