BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE FINAL TWO DAYS OF THE LADBROKES ST LEGER FESTIVAL
THE THREAT from Kingston Hill’s trainer Roger Varian yesterday afternoon that he won’t run the colt unless they water the track means he must be opposed for the final Classic of the season tomorrow, the Ladbrokes St Leger (3.50pm).
John Gosden is in the midst of a glorious period in his training career and Leger success is no stranger to the Newmarket handler, who has won the race four times, including three of the last seven. He looks best-placed to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding Kingston Hill.
The pick of his trio this time has to be ROMSDAL. Rated second-highest on official figures after an encouraging staying-on third in the Derby, the colt is best forgiven his effort in the King George when he didn’t like the tacky ground and Richard Hughes gave him an easy time.
Apparently an aid to help the horse’s breathing will be employed tomorrow and 6/1 is fair value in a race that doesn’t scream quality. Romsdal’s sire Halling is a great influence for stamina and that bodes well for this 1m 6½f trip.
Snow Sky has never looked as if he wants to go this far, while Windshear is extremely consistent, but five seconds and only two wins from seven starts tells its own story.
And don’t be too quick to write off the chances of possible pacemaker Marzocco at 33/1, also from the Gosden yard. This one has been running well enough of late and might be suited to this trip.
The Ladbrokes Portland Handicap (2.40pm) is always one of the most competitive of the season, but MUTHMIR deserves a chance to atone for his expensive defeat, when favourite, in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.
He tanked through the race that day, but was caught wide, so did well to finish fifth. The gelding should be able to adopt a nice position and then pounce late. He’s 6/1 with Ladbrokes.
In the opening Champagne Stakes (2.10pm) the Richard Hannon stable should be popping the corks afterwards, celebrating a third win in four years with ESTIDHKAAR.
One of the most exciting juveniles we’ve seen so far, he thrashed subsequent Solario Stakes winner Aktabantay in the July Stakes and can bully this small field.
A four-runner affair on soft ground last time perhaps didn’t suit MAVERICK WAVE and he can give Gosden another winner on the card in the closing mile handicap (6.35pm). The son of Elusive Quality looks progressive and will need a win to bolster his chances of making the cut for the Cambridgeshire.
ESTIDHKAAR 1.40pm Doncaster
MUTHMIR 2.40pm Doncaster
ROMSDAL e/w 3.50pm Doncaster
MAVERICK WAVE 6.35pm Doncaster