Bill Esdaile previews the best of the UK and Irish racing
THERE were surprisingly no defections at yesterday’s declaration stage for tomorrow’s Ladbrokes St Leger (3.45pm).
It had been widely expected that the Aidan O’Brien-trained ORDER OF ST GEORGE would bypass the world’s oldest Classic in preference for a tilt at Sunday’s Irish equivalent.
However, news that Doncaster are potentially expecting up to 15mm of rain tomorrow morning looks to have persuaded O’Brien to revert back to Plan A.
With the weather set fair on Town Moor this afternoon, and the going description likely to be changed at some point to ‘good to firm’, it seems a little suicidal to be tipping a horse the Ballydoyle team say needs the rain.
Yet, he’s got some solid form on a decent surface and there was just something about the way he quickened up over this trip at the Curragh last time that suggests he could be the one.
Betway Great Voltigeur winner Storm The Stars brings genuine Classic form to the table and is unquestionably the one to beat.
He showed tremendous battling qualities to see off Bondi Beach, another O’Brien runner, in a gruelling trial and there has to be a worry that his ninth start of the campaign may be one race too many.
The supplemented filly Simple Verse should run well, while O’Brien’s other runner Fields Of Athenry ran a cracker in the Ebor with his big weight from a nightmare draw.
It promises to be an intriguing renewal and genuine cases can be made for all eight runners. I’m just happy to side with the ultra-progressive Order Of St George at 3/1 with Betway.
The Portland (2.35pm) is the big betting handicap of the day and Muthmir produced an amazing performance to win this race 12 months ago.
He was undoubtedly a Group horse in a handicap, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything as classy as him in tomorrow’s field.
B Fifty Two is understandably short in the betting following his fast-finishing second at Haydock over five furlongs last weekend.
He is respected but we don’t know if a draw right against the stands rail is going to be an advantage or a disadvantage.
The one who I am convinced is going to win a big race like this is David O’Meara’s HIGHLAND ACCLAIM and this could be his day.
He ran an absolute cracker at York two starts back and last weekend’s Ascot run, where he was disqualified as his jockey weighed in at the incorrect weight, is best ignored.
This 5 ½f trip is just about perfect for him and he will relish any cut in the ground. The 12/1 generally available is a decent each-way price.
Today’s action looks trappy to say the least, but I’m quite keen on the claims of SUEGIOO in the Doncaster Cup (3.05pm).
This really doesn’t look like a very strong race and Marco Botti’s six-year-old is a real stayer. He won last year’s Betway Chester Cup and finished really well to be third in the Ebor a few weeks ago.
It’s a very open race and 7/1 with Betway looks pretty fair.
SUEGIOO e/w 3.05pm Doncaster (today)
HIGHLAND ACCLAIM e/w 2.35pm Doncaster (tomorrow)
ORDER OF ST GEORGE 3.45pm Doncaster (tomorrow)