Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Doncaster and Chester on Saturday. View selections below.
FIELDS OF ATHENRY (3.45) may be the outsider of Aidan O’Brien’s Ladbrokes St Leger trio, but he still represents cracking each-way value if all eight runners go to post. Champion jockey-elect Silvestre de Sousa gets the leg up and he should be able to bag an early lead on his free-running mount. The cards didn’t fall kindly for Fields of Athenry in the Ebor Handicap at York, as he missed the kick and was rushed up on the outside by his apprentice rider to strike the front five furlongs out. He then edged left under pressure to the unfavoured far rail in the straight and although quickly swallowed up by the principals, he stayed on well into fourth. Fields Of Athenry carried a welter burden for a three-year-old on the Knavesmire, which included a 4lb penalty, and his effort may have been undervalued in some quarters. The ground was fairly quick when scoring by 10 lengths at Leopardstown in July and he returned to the Dublin track the following month to land a Group 3 contest with little fuss.
Ballydoyle stable-mates Bondi Beach and Order Of St George deserve close inspection. The former locks horns again with his controversial Great Voltigeur conqueror Storm The Stars. The Irish horse was inconvenienced when carried to his left in the closing stages at York and it’s an intriguing re-match. Derby third Storm The Stars has been a credit to William Haggas throughout the summer and sets a very decent standard. He doesn’t possess an instant change of gear and has to grind it out the hard way. There will be no hiding place for his rivals.
Order Of St George spread-eagled his field in the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh and the forecast rain is in his favour. Improving filly Simple Verse, supplemented at a cost of £50,000, beat Hidden Gold at Goodwood off a rating of 88 and the handicapper was very penal by imposing a 20lb rise. If the assessor is right, she shouldn’t be far away but Hidden Gold ran a stinker on Thursday.
Henry Candy bagged the big Group 1 prize last weekend with Twilight Son in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock and his crack three-year-old LIMATO (3.10) holds leading claims in the Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes. Limato’s form figures in seven career runs read 1111122 but this will be his first try at seven furlongs. His running style offers plenty of encouragement as he tends to break a bit lazily and come through late. Indeed, that was exactly the scenario in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, with Limato making a vain attempt to catch the impeccable Muhaarar. Chief market rival Safety Check ran a stormer in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, chasing home Toormore and Dutch Connection, and rates a clear threat along with Home Of The Brave.
Luca Cumani has had his string in tip-top form on Town Moor and AYAAR (4.55) could add to his tally in the Potter Logistics 50 Glorious Years Handicap. The five-year-old hacked up in the Newbury Spring Cup but subsequently has proved expensive to follow. Ayaar was sent off favourite for the Royal Hunt Cup but stall one proved something of a disadvantage. He was then drawn very wide in the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood but didn’t fare badly in finishing sixth to So Beloved, only fading out of contention in the final 100 yards.
Cumani sends AJMAN BRIDGE (2.50) to Chester and he is fancied to land the Betfair Stand Cup. The five-year-old son of Dubawi has run some terrific races in defeat this summer, notably when narrowly beaten by Arab Dawn in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot. His sixth to Litigant in the Ebor was another solid effort and Ajman Bridge can edge out higher-rated rivals Sheikhzayedroad and Secret Number.
APRICOT SKY (4.35) has every chance of following up last Saturday’s Haydock success from stall five in the Betfair-sponsored five-furlong handicap. Anna Hesketh kept her cool in a rough race as David Nicholls’ gelding held off Thorntoun Lady and Top Boy in a bunched finish. Sixth horse Bashiba beat a big field at Doncaster on Wednesday.
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