WHEN Sea Moon quickened eight lengths clear of the Great Voltigeur field at York last month, he immediately shot to the head of the betting for tomorrow’s Ladbrokes St Leger.
Sir Michael Stoute’s new stable star was having only his fourth racecourse start and has apparently blossomed since that jaw-dropping York performance. As a half-brother to 2003 Leger winner Brian Boru, he should have no problems with the extra yardage and if the rain arrives, he’ll be shorter than the 11/8 currently available with the sponsors.
However, there doesn’t appear to be a huge amount forecast and I’m prepared to take him on with SEVILLE who can be backed each-way at 9/1 with Ladbrokes. Don’t forget that Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Derby runner-up was sent off odds-on favourite at York when finishing third to Sea Moon and clearly didn’t run his race.
Now, I’m prepared to forgive him one clearly under par run as he wasn’t the only runner from his stable to disappoint on the Knavesmire that afternoon. Await The Dawn ran well below his best behind Twice Over and two decent two-year-olds were beaten out of sight. In fact, O’Brien admitted afterwards that he hadn’t done too much with Seville in preparation as his main target has always been Doncaster.
Sea Moon’s winning time wasn’t all that special and there were plenty of very strange results at York this year with plenty of questions raised about the going. All in all, there is enough going for Seville to suggest that he can go close if reappearing in the same form that has seen him finish second in two Group One’s so far this term.
Blue Bunting is hugely respected and if she was still available at around the 7/1 mark, she’d have been the selection. She is tough and has the necessary mix of class and stamina. However, she is as short as 7/2 and has it all to do taking on the colts.
Looking at the rest of Saturday’s Doncaster card and William Haggas’s ENTIFAADHA should land the Champagne Stakes at 2.05pm, while the Hannon team can strike again with hat-trick seeking AMAZING STORM in the Nursery at 4.15pm.
As for today’s action, OPINION POLL could match Frankel by winning his third QIPCO British Champions Series race when tackling the Stobart Doncaster Cup at 2.25pm. Frankie Dettori’s mount should have enough class to see off Motrice and would be a really confident selection if the rain arrives.
KANAF still looks ahead of the handicapper and should go very close in the 4.10pm contest if staying out of trouble. He’s looked pretty unlucky on both his previous starts and can make amends here.
Yet, the best bet today looks to be the John Gosden-trained FALLEN FOR YOU in the May Hill Stakes at 3.00pm. She is the apple of her trainer’s eye and I certainly wouldn’t put you off taking the 14/1 freely available about her winning next year’s 1000 Guineas. If she sees off the likes of Regal Realm and Samitar impressively, she’ll be half that price this evening.
Finally, as the weather can play a huge part, it may well pay to follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile as I’ll be up at Doncaster this weekend.
OPINION POLL 2.25pm Doncaster (today)
FALLEN FOR YOU 3.00pm Doncaster (today)
KANAF 4.10pm Doncaster (today)
ENTIFAADHA 2.05pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
SEVILLE e/w 3.10pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
AMAZING STORM 4.15pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
I’M really looking forward to riding Blue Bunting in tomorrow's Ladbrokes St Leger. She is bidding for her fourth Group One of the campaign and her third Classic, so deserves to take her chance.
She is a really tough filly who goes on any ground – it was fast when she won the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and soft when she won the Irish Oaks. I suppose the biggest challenge for her tomorrow will be taking on the colts for the first time, but until you try, you just don’t know how they match up.
Sea Moon is definitely the one to beat, but my filly is the best of her sex and generation and will run well.
Earlier on in the afternoon, I don’t know too much about Al Khan who I ride in the Champagne Stakes for Peter Chapple-Hyam, while the Portland is such a lottery I can be no more than hopeful about Addictive Dream’s chances.
Sarrsar was impressive at Ascot last time but won’t find it easy from top-weight in the handicap at 3.45pm.
Looking at today’s action and I ride the ultra consistent Opinion Poll in this afternoon’s Doncaster Cup. He was a cracking second at Ascot and followed that with good wins at both Goodwood and York. Any rain would be a positive, but even without it, I’m pretty confident.