HORSE RACING columnist George Storr (@George_Storr1) shares his favourite fancies from St Leger Day at Doncaster on Saturday.
Saturday will see the last classic of the season go ahead at Doncaster without fans, after a trial of small crowds was cancelled after the first day of the St Leger Festival. The race itself is still a mouthwatering feature though, with some interesting rivalries set to play out live on ITV.
1:50 Doncaster | Sky Sports Racing Handicap | ITV
Hamdan Al Maktoum’s promising two-year-old, Albasheer (15/8 SkyBet), is the runaway favourite here after winning over course and distance on his July debut.
He won by six and a half lengths and looked special in doing so. Expect a follow up.
3:35 Doncaster | St Leger | ITV
There are plenty of chances in Saturday’s headline race, the 2020 St Leger, with Santiago and Pyledriver the most talked about entries.
It would be a fairytale story for the sport if Pyledriver can deliver in the season’s final classic but there are some clear concerns. He’s not bred for this distance, especially when compared to some of his most threatening rivals.
Serial front-runner Subjectivist is blessed with stamina but lacked the pace to do any damage in the Great Voltigeur stakes at York last month, leaving Pyledriver to bag a remarkable win. Between Subjectivist’s front-running tendencies and Aidan O’Brien’s three entries, we’re likely to see a very strong pace set in this year’s St Leger.
If this turns out to be the case, it could be Galileo Chrome that is set to benefit. He seems able over the distance and remains an improver – a very real threat. Joseph O’Brien’s entry has seen significant market movement – slipping in from an ante post price of 20/1 to around 5/1 at time of writing.
However, it’s Hukum (7/2 Bet365) that makes the most appeal. He ran a hugely impressive race in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, beating Max Vega by 2 ½ lengths. That was over 1m 5 ½ f but he’s bred to handle this distance and is still improving.
Notably, English King was withdrawn from the race on Friday morning and will appear instead in Sunday’s Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris. That removed another key player from the race and could boost the hopes of the each way candidates.
Mohican Heights (25/1 Bet365) certainly has place claims if recapturing early-career potential. Sired by Derby winner, Australia, he’s been bred to compete around this distance and can put a couple of poor recent performances behind him. He’s related to several good winners, notably Eye of the Storm, who picked up some good Class 1 victories over longer trips.