The live TV coverage of the third day’s action at the 2017 St Leger Festival kicks off with the Group Sceptre stakes over 7f.
This year’s renewal looks a fascinating contest with a number of in-form rivals taking their place in the line up here.
John Gosden has a cracking record at this meeting and is represented here by the talented 4yo Eternally with Frankie Detroit in the saddle. The Dutch Art filly has never been out of the first three in six career runs and her form stands up really well here. She would unquestionably rate as one of the key players in the race and should fight out the finish, but a chance is instead taken on a rival with similar form at a much bigger price.
Aiden O’Brien sends over the talented and highly tried Music Box for this one. Despite being a year younger than Eternally, she has already had more than double the number of races. She is battle hardened and been in the first three in 11 of those 14 careers starts to date. She has beaten some smart types in Ireland this term and the form of her last run gives her a chance here today so she gets the each way nod with the assistance of Ryan Moore today.
Of the rest, the William Haggas trained, On Her Toes, looks the main danger after landing the spoils in her previous outing in nice fashion.
MUSIC BOX (E/W)
The Group 2 Flying Childers looks a straight forward match up between two up and coming sprint stars over the 5f minimum trip this afternoon.
Molecomb hero Havana Grey from the Karl Burke yard is one of the aforementioned principles here. The 2yo colt was impressive when landing his first Group 3 in the mud at Glorious Goodwood to follow up his listed win at Sandown the previous run. The form of his second in the Group 1 Prix Morny makes him a worthy favourite to land the spoils here, but the winner that day, Unfortunately, was given a harder race by one of his rivals today and he may struggle to hold off a less exposed rival with the concession of weight.
The aforementioned rival is the Clive Cox trained Heartache. The 2yo is already a Group 2 winner from her success in the Queen Mary, but can essentially get weight here from her male counterparts and she looks the one to be on. The speed ratings put her bang there along with the French form which is working out tremendously well and the manner of her Royal Ascot win makes her the confident bet of the day here today.
HEARTACHE (WIN) – NAP
The Mallard Handicap ran over the 1m6f trip looks a tricky contest on the face of it, but the Ebro winning Scottish trainer Iain Jardine looks to have another decent stayer on his hands here with the aptly named Shrewd. The handicapper looks to have given this one a real chance based on his previous form. He gets his ground today and with some smart form in the book both at today’s track and elsewhere, he gets the nod as a solid each way bet.
Brian Ellison’s Seamour will be looking to regain some form after failing to reach the frame in some big stayers handicaps recently, and the form of his third place behind Dal Harrild and Nakeeta is working out tremendously well, but that was three runs ago and the races since have been uninspiring.
The main danger to the selection will instead be likely to come from the Mark Johnston trained Time To Study. The 3yo has already amassed three wins from seven career starts and only been out of the top three places once and is likely a huge danger to the rest of the field here off bottom weight.
Day three’s feature race is the Group 2 Doncaster Cup for stayers.
A number of familiar rivals take their place here today and it may pay to stick with the tried and tested formula of horses for courses here as two former winners look ready to do battle once again. Sir Mark Prescott sends his 8yo former race winner Pallasator here in search of recapturing some form, but the familiar surroundings would likely need to work the oracle for him to get involved at the business end.
The defending champion from last term is the David Simcock trained Sheikhzayedroad, who has some nice form to his name with a third to the impressive Vaziribad, but again he has been put well in his place since then this term by both the aforementioned Pallasator and more recently by the re-opposing Montaly.
The Andrew Balding trained stayer won the Chester Cup in nice style before coming up just short in the Esther Stakes at Sandown two runs back, but it is the manner of his gutsy win over Dartmouth last time out in the Lonsdale Cup that makes him a worthy favourite and he is taken to add the Doncaster Cup to his collection here today.
David Elsworth’s Desert Skyline rate the main danger with the assistance of Sylvestre De Sousa in the saddle. The third place in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup behind Stradivarius and Big Orange makes him a live danger here today to the selection, but he is a horse who has been very difficult to win with recently.
A fascinating maiden contest ends the live tv action on Friday and there are a number of unraced 2yos in the field that could be very exciting animals to follow in the future.
Ryan Moore looks an eye catching booking on the once-run Richard Hannon trained Sherzy Boy and there is no doubt that the brilliantly named debutants Ace Ventura, Military Law and Godolphin’s representative Ghaiyyath will all be newcomers to note in the betting, but a chance here is taken on the fantastically bred Tiffin Top who runs in the colours of Cracksman and Derby hero Golden Horn. He has the assistance of Frankie Dettori riding for the John Gosden team and he could easily be a Level above these.
TIFFIN TOP (E/W)