Steven Dowler is on duty all week at the St Leger Festival at Doncaster. He’s targeting the Boosted £5,000 Place 6 on day one of the action. Check out his St Leger Festival betting tips and join his Syndicate.
St Leger Festival betting tips – Day one
13.10 – Maiden Stakes – 1m
A lot of well-bred newcomers come to the fore in the opening race of the St Leger Festival betting tips, so it’s best off having a few on side in what is a tricky contest to unravel.
Owen Burrows and William Haggas do exceptionally well with their two-year-old’s, so I want MOKTASAAB and MOHAAFETH on side as both could be ready for this assignment with Jim Crowley’s preference for the latter. Roger Varian’s debutant ROYAL CHAMPION should also be noted. Finally, of those with experience, Simon Crisford’s LATEST GENERATION, who shaped well on debut to finish third, has an excellent each-way chance with William Buick doing the steering.
Selections: MOKTASAAB, ROYAL CHAMPION, MOHAAFETH, LATEST GENERATION
13.40 – Nursery – 7f
Once more, some nice two-year-old’s on show here, and the one I really like is ATASAR, who represents a yard bang in-form. This promising colt has won two of his four races and took his form to the next level when appreciating the step up to seven-furlongs at York’s Ebor festival when comfortably accounting for some decent horses. A repeat performance might well suffice this afternoon given he’s yet to run a bad race and the form he’s produced so far makes him the one to beat.
I’m also going to give a mention to the runner-up that day MAYAAS, who hasn’t managed to win yet, but has progressed nicely with each race, and he stayed on nicely behind Atasar at York last month. Now equipped with first-time cheekpieces, he shouldn’t be discounted given his previous third when just in front of Minzaal has taken a huge boost since by that horse. He was the choice of Jim Crowley that day which speaks volumes on what he thinks of this horse.
Selections: ATASAR, MAYAAS
14.10 – Scarborough Stakes – 5f
A cracking renewal of this listed contest with my top vote going to the improving MOSS GILL, who ran a blinder to finish third in the Nunthorpe Stakes behind Battaash, which was an excellent performance considering he did best of those held-up in what became a massive test of speed.
MAKANAH is held in high-regard by connections, and is a very likeable sprinter, who continues to be in good form this term. He made a successful return to action back in June, and hasn’t been beaten far the last three times, including when fourth in the Beverley Bullet despite racing lonely down the stands side which wouldn’t have helped his chances.
Interestingly, Johnny Murtagh sends over URBAN BEAT, who hasn’t won for quite some time, but his form over five-furlongs reads consistent figures of 1, 4, 1, 4 3, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 2, for which have all come in fields of eight runners or more. He comes into this race on the back of a good second last time out, and with cheek-pieces added along with Frankie Dettori booked to ride, he can’t be discounted.
Selections: MOSS GILL, MAKANAH, URBAN BEAT
14.40 – Mondialiste Classified Stakes – 1m
This isn’t an easy puzzle to solve, but I’m inclined to believe that this race has been the long-term plan for HAMMER GUN. For sure, he doesn’t arrive in great form, but he’s the only course and distance winner in the field, which also came off a 6lb higher mark last year. He was unlucky in this race twelve months ago when beaten just a “short head” given he endured a troubled passage. The seven-year-old is 9lb lower for this year’s addition, so although he’s not particularly high on reliability, he’s too well-handicapped to be left alone with Richard Kingscote an interesting jockey booking.
FLYING DRAGON has been in good fettle this season. He was third in this race twelve months ago and bids to go two places better off what is coincidentally, the exact same mark. Meanwhile AOIFE’S JOY makes her handicap debut on the back of two promising races in defeat. She might lack the experience, but looks very well-treated off this mark. LATE ARRIVAL arrives on the back of three solid efforts in handicaps and could have more to offer off an unchanged mark.
Selections: HAMMER GUN, FLYING DRAGON, AOIFE’S JOY, LATE ARRIVAL
15.15 – Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes – 7f
A quality field assembled for this valuable Group Three race. Charlie Appleby’s ALTHIQA was a shade unfortunate to not win when second at this level over at Deauville when last seen given she had a lot to do and came from an unpromising position to be nearest the finish at the line. She had previously won three of her five races and placed twice, including at a similar level at Goodwood. She’s improving all the time, and has an excellent chance of taking top honours here.
CLOAK OF SPIRITS has plied her trade at the highest level on a few occasions, running with great credit in defeat each time, including when second in the 1000 Guineas behind Arc favourite Love. Richard Hannon’s filly hasn’t managed to win since debut, but she’s done nothing wrong in her career and it’s only a matter of time before she gets back to winning ways given her time figures are exceptional, and she wasn’t far behind Althiqa when third last time on ground that was far from ideal.
Sir Michael Stoute holds an impressive 33% strike-rate at this track with his older horses, and his filly JUBILOSO, shouldn’t be overlooked despite running below form the last twice. She hasn’t looked herself over one-mile of late, so the return to her optimum distance will help her a lot, given the fact that her two best performances have been over this trip, including when third at Royal Ascot in last year’s Group One Coronation Stakes. If she can rediscover that sort of form, she ought to prove tough to beat.
Selections: ALTHIQA, CLOAK OF SPIRITS, JUBILOSO
15.45 – Handicap – 1m2f
Another tricky race on today’s card, but I’m going to stick to my guns and give another chance to a couple of horses who I believe are capable off their current marks.
The Hughie Morrison-trained STARCAT finished a creditable seventh on his second career start in the 2000 Guineas, for which he would have finished a lot closer without suffering interference. He’s had excuses the last twice, where he was drawn on the wrong side of the track in the Britannia at Royal Ascot before he was given too much to do when keeping on to finish fifth of twelve in a hot-handicap at Goodwood. He left the impression that day of he, himself, being well-handicapped going forward and he remains on the same mark today with ideal conditions.
The other one I want on side who featured in my ten to follow for Colossus this season is the John Gosden-trained HYPOTHETICAL, who has the presence of Frankie Dettori in the saddle again. He looked a good prospect going forward when making a winning debut, and ran with great credit to finish fourth in a Group Three on his return to action. Admittedly, he disappointed at Royal Ascot when well-supported, but the soft ground was to blame and he’s given another chance to prove that latest start to be all wrong and at the same time, be one step ahead of the handicapper.
Selections: STARCAT, HYPOTHETICAL
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