Weekend Wonders – Outsiders for the St. Leger & Irish Champion Stakes

Kew Gardens and Ryan Moore winning the Doncaster St. Leger 2018 from Lah Ti Dar and Frankie Dettori

A weekend jam packed full of quality with thirteen Group races coming from Doncaster, Leopardstown and the Curragh, as well as a further five from over in France at Longchamp. As usual, we’ll have tips for all these races, as well as the rest of the Horse Racing and a guide to the Irish Champions Weekend.

Whilst there are a number of hot favourites, none more so than the unbeaten Logician running for Gosden and Dettori in the St. Leger, there’s plenty of value out there. Here, we take a look at some of the bigger priced contenders from both Saturday and Sunday.

Doncaster St. Leger

As previously mentioned, the market is headed by Logician and there’s every reason for that given his unbeaten start to life, impressing when winning the Great Voltigeur last time out. Both he and Sir Dragonet, a close fifth in the Derby, look the class angles in the race, however they both have stamina to prove today.

One for whom this is no concern is Dashing Willoughby. Andrew Balding’s son of Nathaniel has raced once over fourteen furlongs, making all impressively in the Queen’s Vase, the last two winners of which (Stradivarius and Kew Gardens) have finished third and first at Doncaster.

A close fourth against older horses under a penalty subsequently over an inadequate twelve, he was just outstayed in the Goodwood Cup over two-miles against the cream of British stayers when last seen. Steadily progressive, rated just two pounds lower than Logician, and higher than Technician and Sir Ron Priestley, he’s of huge interest.

Leopardstown Irish Champion Stakes

If forgiven an underwhelming run in the King George, this year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck is surely overpriced. With excuses aplenty for that effort (softer ground, cheekpieces, unsettled beforehand), he stands a great chance if back to his best.

His previous form reads very well in the context of this. Ahead of Madhmoon at Epsom and in the Irish equivalent four weeks later when chasing home surprise winner Sovereign, he’s the third highest rated in the field, with his weight for age allowance meaning that he officially comes out second best at the figures.

With the yard no stranger to landing these big races with second/third jockey selections, there is no issue with his being ridden by Wayne Lordan, and he was a mightily impressive winner here on his sole start at the track last July.

Leopardstown Matron Stakes

With the O’Brien contenders for father and son, Hermosa and Iridessa respectively, arriving here after poor efforts, and with last year’s winner Laurens losing out in a weaker contest at York last time, there has to be room for a big priced contender.

Prolific as a juvenile, culminating in an easy win in the Moyglare at the Curragh at this meeting, 2019 hasn’t entirely gone to plan for Skitter Scatter. Trailing home in fourteenth in the Guineas on stable debut in May, and overturned in a Group Three at Tipperary last time out, she needs to do better today,

Those runs strongly suggest that she needs her comeback run however, and now race fit a far better showing has to be expected. Similarly, only losing to a progressive filly last time when looking short of fitness late on, was a far from discouraging effort after a four month lay off. With this race the target, she should be primed to perfection and can go close.

Curragh National Stakes

The betting has this juvenile contest as being sown up before its taken place with Pinatubo long odds-on. By far the most impressive two-year-old this season, he deserves his place at the head of the market. He’s far too short to be considered for betting material however, and so the race looks ideal for one at an each way price.

A winner on both starts on good ground, including when landing the Coventry at Royal Ascot from subsequent Gimcrack winner Threat, Arizona has a great chance back on a quick surface.

He came unstuck on heavy in the Prix Morny, his first start for two months. With that run easy enough to forgive, he’s by far a more attractive proposition at the prices than stablemate Armory whose two recent Group victories lack substance.

Curragh Irish St. Leger

A far classier renewal than the 2018 edition, with the Doncaster St. Leger represented by Kew Gardens, the Melbourne Cup by Cross Counter and the Irish Derby by Latrobe. The older horses dominate the market, with the sole three-year-old in the contest by far the most intriguing runner.

Dermot Weld’s Search For A Song is improving at a rapid rate of knots. She finished fourth in the Irish Oaks on just her third start, less than two months after making her debut, before landing the Galtres Stakes at York last time.

It’s undeniable that this is a sterner test than that which she faced last time, however she’s by far the least exposed runner and judged on both racecourse form and pedigree, she’ll have no trouble seeing out this longer trip, and should in fact improve for it.

Please Gamble Responsibly