Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Doncaster and Leopardstown. View selections below
Kingston Hill’s participation in today’s Ladbrokes St Leger, at the time of writing, hangs in the balance with trainer Roger Varian not prepared to confirm that antepost favourite Kingston Hill will take his chance on ground that is obviously faster than the official description of good to soft.
Doncaster clerk of the course Roderick Duncan had not ruled out the possibility of watering the track on Friday evening but if he does he runs the risk of pandering to one trainer although the race will be devalued if the Derby runner up does not make the line-up. With doubts about Kingston Hill’s participation it looks prudent to look elsewhere for the winner.
I am a big fan of Alex My Boy but the Mark Johnston yard have been in better form and Windshear (3.50) is a half-brother to a two-mile winner and can end a frustrating run of seconds and give Richard Hannon a second classic winner of the season.
The each way selection went down by a neck to Snow Sky in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood last time over 12f, when not getting the best of runs, and is bred to appreciate today’s stiffer test. Snow Sky has subsequently franked the form when runner up in the Gt Voltigeur to the progressive Postponed at York but that just might be as far as he wants to go.
The 7f trip of the Group 2 Park Stakes should be ideal for Aljaamaheer (3.15) who would have found the ground too slow at Newmarket in the July Cup last time, having run well in third in the Diamond Jubilee on his penultimate start. This intermediate trip of 7f should be ideal for a horse who escapes a penalty for last season’s Group 2 success. He is a confident selection and anything around the forecast 7/4 at BetVictor looks a fair price.
The big betting race of the day is the Portland Handicap and Muthmir (2.40) (6/1 at BetVictor) can reverse 32Red Cup form with Intrinsic (13/2) on 4lb better terms. The selection had an unfavourable draw at Ascot and suggested at York on his previous start that he could make up into a Group animal. The Ascot race may have come a bit soon after the Knavesmire and I hope to see the real Muthmir this afternoon. Compton Park was an impressive winner at Thirsk last month and is another to consider but I will be disappointed if Muthmir doesn’t make the frame.
Mighty Yar was a major disappointment in the Ebor last time but could easily bounce back with Graham Lee back in the saddle, but Mount Logan (4.25), the only 3-y-old in the race, represents the bang inform Luca Cumani yard and after six career starts is open to further improvement. His third at Haydock last time has been franked by the runner up, if not the winner, and now that connections know the colt gets 12f he can be ridden more positively.
At Leopardstown I am really looking forward to seeing John F Kennedy (4.05) again after his fluent maiden success at the Curragh last month. The colt is currently 25/1 for the Guineas and 10/1 favourite for the Derby at BetVictor; this represents a step up in class but one I feel he should take in his very large stride. Few horses have excited me as much in recent times and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t continue his development.
Blue Hussar (4.40) has not been seen since flopping on soft ground in a Derby trial back in the spring but something was clearly amiss. The selection is ridden by Joseph O’Brien and his brother Donnacha (Chamonix) and sister Ana (Egyptian Warrior) also have rides in the race for their dad Aidan.
It really could be a memorable day for O’Brien who also saddles the mighty Australia (6.50) in the Irish Champions Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks winner Tapestry but how will the latter cope with the drop back in trip from 12f to the mile of the Matron Stakes?
Sunday is Arc Trials day from Longchamp and all eyes will be on Treve (2.45) who is taken to return to winning ways at the scene of her greatest triumph. Frankie Dettori has been jocked off last year’s Arc winner in favour of Thierry Jarnet and I expect the filly to get her season back on track having been beaten on both starts under Dettori earlier in the campaign.