Hi, It’s been a busy midweek with the four-day Doncaster St Leger Festival beginning on Wednesday and we end the fixture this Saturday with the climax – the Ladbrokes St Leger.
The oldest, and final Classic, of the five English Classics will see leading Irish trainer, Aidan O’Brien, trying to land the race for a fifth time and he looks to hold a huge chance – this year with Idaho. His classy 3 year-old has been at the top of the betting market for months now and cemented that position with an easy win in the Great Voltigeur at York – a race that is always seen as a decent trial ahead of the St Leger – we’ve got the big race, plus the three other LIVE Doncaster races covered below with top trends and free tips.
Get Set For a Classic Day at Doncaster……………
2.00 – At The Races Champagne Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 7f More4
14/15 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
13/15 – Won by a Feb or March foal
13/15 – Had over 7f before
13/15 – Won 1 or 2 times previously
12/15 – Favourites placed
12/15 – Finished third or better last time out
9/15 – Won last time out
8/15 – Run at Sandown, Newbury, York or the Curragh last time out
8/15 – Raced 3 or more times that season
6/15 – Winning favourites
4/15 – Won by Godolphin
3/15 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
3/15 – Won by the Richard Hannon yard
2/15 – Won by the Mark Johnston yard
2/15 – Won by the Charlie Appleby yard
2/15 – Won by the Saeed Bin Suroor yard
1/15 – Winners from stall 1
The average winning SP in the last 10 years is 4.2/1
Note: 2005 renewal was a dead-heat
VERDICT: This has been a great contest for the Hannon stable, having won the prize in 2011, 2012 and 2014 so their recent winner, Majeste, will be looking to improve that record for his yard. He was a good winner, on only his second start, at Newbury in July and connections are clearly being patient with him. But, with 13 of the last 15 winners foaled in February or March then this January-born 2 year-old has that stat to overcome. The Hannon camp are also not the only ones to have a good record in the race as both Godolphin yards – Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor – do too, and they’ve both got entries again. Appleby won the race in 2013 and 2015 so his D’Bai will be hoping to add to that roll of honour. The horse’s ability could be anything after just two runs, but he only just got home at 1/5 last time at Newmarket so you would think he needs to improve on that now into Group company. However, the yard must feel he’s up to this company and isn’t one to rule out lightly with William Buick a further plus in the saddle. Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor won the race in 2009 and 2010 – and he runs Thunder Snow, who sets a fair standard based on his runner-up effort to War Decree in the Group Two Vintage Stakes recently. He’s a March-born 2 year-old so ticks that trend, but is yet to win over this 7f trip so that’s a negative based on the fact 13 of the last 15 winners had won over this distance. Of those entered, only D’Bai, Tommy Taylor and RIVET have won previously over 7f. And it’s the last-named of those, the William Haggas-trained RIVET that catches the eye. This 2 year-old was a really impressive last time when a 3 ¼ length winner over this trip at York and although that was only a maiden he holds some eye-catching Group One entries for next month, plus the Epsom Derby next season. Therefore, you feel connections must think he’s up to taking this before going onto slightly better things.
2.35 – Ladbrokes Portland Handicap Cl2 5f140y More4
14/14 – Carried 8-12 or more
12/14 – Won over 6f before
11/14 – Had run 5 or more times that season
11/14 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
11/14 – Winner rated between 95 and 101
11/14 – Came from a double-figure stall
10/14 – Winning distance – 1 length or less
10/14 – Won 4 or more times in their career
10/14 – Run at Doncaster previously
8/14 – Unplaced Favourites
6/14 – Placed in their last race
6/14 – Winners aged 5 years-old (inc 6 of last 8 years)
6/14 – Raced in that season’s Great St Wilfrid (Ripon)
4/14 – Raced at Ripon last time out
3/14 – Won by the Kevin Ryan yard
3/14 – Won last time out
3/14 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 13.4/1
VERDICT: With 22 entered for this tricky handicap then it’s not going to be easy to find the winner. But there are some interesting stats to take into the race so we can at least use these to whittle down the field and try and find the best-looking profile based on past winners. With ALL of the last 14 winners carrying 8-12 or more in weight this suggests the bottom four on the card – Confessional, Highland Acclaim, Mukaynis and Olivia Fallow all have it to do. Winning form over 6f, and having had at least 5 runs this season are other key factors to look for, while with 11 of the last 14 winners officially rated between 95 and 101 then if this stat is to be repeated we have cut the 22 strong field in half to 11 – Mont Kiara, Captain Colby, Harry Hurricane, Related, Soie D’Leau, Hoofalong, Son Of Africa, Red Pike, Humidor, Judicial and Pipers Note. Next is the draw as 11 of the last 14 winners came from a double-figure starting berth. Of the 11 left, and looking at the draw, that leaves us with Captain Colby, Soie D’ Leau, Son Of Africa, Red Pike, Judicial and Pipers Note. Next is to look for previous course experience as 10 of the last 14 runners had raced at Doncaster before. So of the six left we can again chop these in half as only PIPERS NOTE, RED PIKE and SOIE D’ LEAU fit the bill with past track experience. So, in a race of this nature there is no harm siding with two of three and with the three left all around 14/1 in the betting then there is plenty of margin to do this.
3.10 – The Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 7f More4
11/13 – Winning distance – 1 length or less
11/13 – Run 3 or more times that season
11/13 – Won 3 or more times before
10/13 – Placed favourites
10/13 – Run at either Goodwood (5), Newbury (3) or Newmarket (2) last time out
10/13 – Won over 7f before
10/13 – Won a Group race previously
10/13 – Returned 7/1 or shorter
9/13 – Unplaced in their most recent race
9/13 – Aged 4 or older
7/13 – Placed horses from stall 1
5/13 – Had run at Doncaster before
3/13 – Winning favourites
2/13 – Won by a previous winner of the race
2/13 – Trained by Jeremy Noseda
The average SP in the last 10 runnings is 13/2
VERDICT: A nice little renewal and with the Irish winning three of the last seven runnings then their two runners – Cougar Mountain and The Happy Prince – are a good place to start. These Aidan O’Brien-trained pair both have chances, but are probably not the stables absolute superstars. The Happy Prince has at least won over this distance and heads here off the back of a victory, but Cougar Mountain is officially rated 4lbs higher and sporting the first-time visor just gets the nod of the O’Brien runners. 9 of the last 13 winners were aged 4, so that’s not great news for the only 3 year-old in the race – Kentuckyconnection, but, in contrast, he comes from stall 1 and horses from that starting draw have been placed in 7 of the last 13 runnings. There is not much to pick between Breton Rock and Adaay with just a head separating the pair at Newmarket back in July, but Breton Rock will certainly be suited by the step back to 7f after disappointing over a mile last time, and is also the only course and distance winner in the line-up. The ‘boys in blue’ of Godolphin have a decent hand too with RICHARD PANKHURST and Toormore both entered. The pair are rated 115 so in theory there shouldn’t be much between the them, but the Gosden-trained Richard Pankhurst, with only seven career runs under his belt, could have more to offer. Yes, he’s a horse that’s had his issues so connections have had to be patient with him, but he’s still only 4 years-old and he showed just how good he can be last time when a length winner of the Group Two Hungerford Stakes at Newbury. That was actually his third try over this 7f and he’s won them all, so is beginning to look like a bit of a 7f specialists.
3.45 – Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) Cl1 1m6f132y CH4
13/14 – Had 2 or 3 previous career wins
13/14 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
12/14 – Placed favourites
11/14 – Had never raced at Doncaster before
11/14 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
11/14 – Had won a Group race before
10/14 – Had never raced over 1m6f or further before
10/14 – Winning distance of 1 length or more
10/14 – Had 4 or 5 previous runs that season
9/14 – Officially rated 109 to 115
9/14 – Had won over at least 1m3f before
8/14 – Drawn in stall 5 or higher
8/14 – Won last time out
6/14 – Ran in the Great Voltigeur last time out (2 won it)
6/14 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
4/14 – USA-bred winners
3/14 – Ran in the Gordon Stakes last time out (2 won it)
3/14 – Trained by John Gosden
3/14 – Won by a Godolphin-owned horse
3/14 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
3/14 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
2/14 – Ridden by William Buick
2/14 – Winners from stall 1
Godolphin have won the race 6 times
Aidan O’Brien has trained 4 winners of the race
The average winning SP in the last 14 years is 7/1
VERDICT: Top Irish trainer, Aidan O’Brien, who trains the St Leger favourite – IDAHO – has a great record in the race – winning it four times, with Leading Light being his most recent in 2013, while John Gosden, who runs Muntahaa, has been responsible for four winners during his career, including three of the last 9.
So starting with the trends – In the ‘backer v layer’ confrontation the contest has certainly favoured punters with 6 of the last 14 favourites winning, and this is backed-up further with a massive 12 of the last 14 market leaders finishing in the top three.
That said, by far the biggest ‘standout’ stat in recent runnings is that 13 of the last 14 winners were placed in the top 3 last time out, while the same amount (13 of the last 14) had won just 2 or 3 times before.
Don’t be too concerned if the horse you like is yet to race over this 1m6f (or further) trip as 10 of the last 14 winners were trying this distance for the first time.
The St Leger has many leading trial races that horses often use as stepping stones before coming here. Having raced in either the Great Voltigeur (17th Aug, York) or the Gordon Stakes (27th July, Goodwood) is significant with 9 of the last 14 St Leger winners running in one of those contests before taking this – with 4 of the last 14 (2 each) actually winning one of those leading staying races. before going onto St Leger glory. The market leader, Idaho, won the Great Voltigeur in impressive fashion so the O’Brien hot-pot has yet another big stat on his side.
Despite being run over 1m6f the draw has also played a key part too with 8 of the last 14 winners coming from stalls 5 or higher, while we’ve seen just 2 winners from stall one take the pot during that 14 year period, with last year’s winner, Simple Verse, being one of those. This draw stat might suggest it’s difficult to get a good early position in the race, without using up valuable energy, from the lower starting stalls.
Finally, coming into the race fit is another fairly obvious statement to note, but also coming here in-form is vital. We’ve already mentioned that horses that finished in the top three in their last race are worth keeping on your side, but 8 of the last 14 actually won their last outing, while 10 of the last 14 winners headed here with between 4 or 5 previous runs that season. This, once again, backs-up the fitness and experience angle, and is another big trend in favour of Idaho, who recently won the Great Voltigeur on his fifth start of the season.
So based on the trends the clear favourite is Idaho, who will be bidding to give Aidan O’Brien a fifth win in the race, and really if reproducing his Epsom Derby third, Irish Derby second and recent Great Voltigeur win at York (a top trial race) then he’s the clear form pick too. There could even be more to come over this longer trip too so it’s hard to see past IDAHO.
Of the rest, the John Gosden team are always feared in this race, having won three of the last 9 renewals, so their Muntahaa looks best of the rest. This 3 year-old is rated 7lbs lower than Idaho and does have a bit to prove in this grade, but with just five career runs he’s a horse that should have more to come and if connections feel he’s up to Group One company then we should take note. A recent win at Chester means he heads here full of confidence and should also benefit for this step up in trip. O’Brien’s Housesofparliament is another to consider but Idaho beat his stablemate by an easy-looking 1 ¾ lengths in the Great Voltigeur last time so should, in theory, have that one covered.
Other TV Races
2.15 – DUBAI DYNAMO (e/w)
2.50 – FOUNDATION