There is just over a week to go before Doncaster and Leopardstown host two top-class cards – with the highlights being the St Leger and Irish Champion Stakes, both are races that will be covered in our free horse racing tips.
Our man Joe Eccles has taken a look at the two Group 1’s, providing an ante-post selection for each of them – read his views below.
The unbeaten Logician currently heads the market for this year’s St Leger, and he arrives here on the back of victory in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York. Being a powerful galloping sort, he should appreciate this test.
His lack of experience is a notable concern though. In the past twenty renewals, the average amount of runs prior to winning is 6.65. With just four career starts to date, Logician is attempting to become the lightest-raced winner of the Leger since Nedawi (3) back in 1998.
Aidan O’Brien has picked up three of the four English Classics in 2019, with the Oaks the only raced to have eluded him.
He has the beaten Derby favourite Sir Dragonet in here, along with recent Lonsdale Cup third Il Paradiso. The former has the more appealing profile of the two, with a recent spin at the Curragh likely to have blown off any cobwebs.
Like the aforementioned Logician, however, his four runs leave him looking a little inexperienced for this assignment, with the yard’s last two winners Capri and Kew Gardens having had the benefit of nine and eleven races respectively prior to their victories.
Joseph O’Brien’s Buckhurst would be a fascinating runner if sent over to contest this, albeit he has a number of entries next weekend, so looks a risky proposition for ante-post purposes.
In an open renewal, the progressive SIR RON PRIESTLEY is taken to continue his upward curve and provide trainer Mark Johnston with a first St Leger win.
This colt by Australia has won five of his six starts so far this campaign, with his only defeat coming on unfavourably soft ground at Royal Ascot.
He took the step up into pattern company in his stride when landing a Group 3 at Goodwood last time out, and he looks like a horse that just doesn’t know when he’s beat.
The weather forecast, crucially, looks dry at Doncaster next week – so he should get his favoured conditions, and the return to a left-handed galloping track may well bring out the best in him.
Japan and Crystal Ocean look set to resume their rivalry here, having gone head-to-head in last month’s Juddmonte International – where the former came out narrowly on top.
Connections of Crystal Ocean will fancy their chances of reversing the form meeting on a pound better terms, but he has had two very tough races in succession now – and that would be a concern for his backers.
The smart Magical has had to chase home Enable the last twice, so will appreciate not having that rival to contend with today. Her stable’s recent record in this race is a concern, however.
Since So You Think scored in 2011, O’Brien has had 18 unsuccessful runners in the race, including beaten odds-on favourites in 2014 and 2017. He has had a horse priced up at 6/1 or shorter in each of the last seven renewals, but the aforementioned So You Think remains his last winner.
UK raiders have a much stronger recent record, with six of the last seven winners coming from across the Irish Sea. Roger Charlton sent over Decorated Knight to win in 2017, and his HEADMAN gets the nod here.
A winner of his last three starts – the two most recent successes coming in French Group 2’s – this three-year-old by Kingman appears to be improving at a rate of knots.
He got up late on at Deauville last month, despite the ground looking plenty soft enough, and with his yard currently in flying form – he looks overpriced.