Andrew Balding: I'd dearly love to win the St Leger
The Betway ambassador previews his runners at the Doncaster St Leger Festival, Chester and Bath on a busy Saturday of racing.
It’s a massive day up at Doncaster and we have two of our big guns out. Shine So Bright has an obvious chance in the Park Stakes (14:25), the only concern is the potential bounce factor.
He was off for quite a bit of time before York last month and, as he goes so well fresh, it has to be a slight worry if he can produce the same level of performance just three weeks on.
Don’t get me wrong, he seems great at home and we’re very happy with him. There is no rhyme or reason to the bounce factor, we’ve tried everything to avoid it. If he can repeat his York run, he will take all the beating.
The St Leger (15:35) is one of the great races and it’s one I’d dearly love to win. I think the market has been a bit dismissive of Dashing Willoughby .
I know he won on soft ground at Ascot, but he ran really well in the Princess Of Wales at Newmarket on good-to-firm and that was over 1m4f.
I also thought he ran well for a long way in the Goodwood Cup last time. He looked like he was going to finish third until he tired late on. He’s a bigger price than I think he should be and has a sporting each-way chance.
Sir Dragonet kicked our horse out of sight in the Chester Vase and if he handles the quicker ground he must be a big danger. I thought he looked like a machine at Chester. He was disappointing last time but Aidan O’Brien had six in it and Donnacha O’Brien has chosen him.
Logician was very impressive in the Great Voltigeur, he has done nothing wrong whatsoever. He’s a worthy favourite and could turn out to be the star of the show.
Il Paradiso ran very well behind Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee at York, but while I accept that Sir Ron Priestly is really tough I don’t think he’s achieved as much as we have.
Technician might need slightly softer ground. He beat Morando of ours in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury last time and if Dashing Willoughby had run in that I think he would have won.
Grace And Danger ran very well in a Listed race at Windsor last time and I hope she’ll run well in this Listed contest (14:05).
It’s a small but select field and any of the five could win it really. I suppose it will be who handles Chester the best, but our filly ran well in the Cheshire Oaks and she should be there or thereabouts.
We’re hoping the ground doesn’t dry out too much for Diocletian in the staying handicap (14:40). If it does get too quick, we’ll pull him out. He is weighted to win a race but definitely prefers some genuine dig in the ground.
Pass The Gin has some good form over course and distance, but she has a terrible draw in the six furlong handicap (15:50).
David Probert will have to drop her in and ride for some luck, but I’d say it’s virtually impossible from there.
I do think Spirit Warning has an outstanding chance in the next (16:25).
He was a bit disappointing at York last time, but they didn’t go a gallop that day. The track should suit him very well and he has a nice draw in stall one.
Bronze River won on debut at Kempton last month and he should go well in the mile novice (15:10).
He has to carry a penalty but Will Carver takes 5lbs off and he’s been riding very well. I don’t think the ground will worry the horse.
Strict Tempo has been very unlucky on her last three starts and hopefully she can get her head in front in the mile handicap (16:20).
She deserves to win a race and stepping up a furlong should suit.
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