The racing broadcaster has three picks for the final day of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster and tips one runner at Musselburgh.
The four-day St Leger meeting ends as it used to begin with Wednesday’s card switched to the Sunday. While at this stage it doesn’t have terrestrial coverage (neither did the Wednesday). the move significantly increases the chances of that in the future and hopefully Doncaster are rewarded with a bigger on course crowd.
The quality of Sunday fixtures in Britain compared to France and Ireland has long been the subject of discussion, but precious little action so even a small step in the right direction should be applauded.
The feature race in terms of quality is the Group 3 JRA Sceptre Stakes and features the return of CACHET 11/5 (15:35 Doncaster). She is last season’s 1000 Guineas winner has been off since Royal Ascot last summer but as a result carries no penalties for her higher-level victories.
While she is entitled to be rusty it is far easier to get horses fit off absences these days and she has won first time out (including the Nell Gwyn) in both her racing seasons to date. Her class can see her through on the way to a run at Newmarket in the Sun Chariot before heading to the Sales at the end of the year.
Much sweat has been shed among the riders competing for the annual Vickers Bet Leger Legends race especially by Jamie Osborne who partners CLIFFS OF CAPRI 10/1 (15:00 Doncaster) on a return to the saddle for the first time since the last of three abortive attempts to win the race in 2012.
A guest on the ITV Racing Podcast, Jamie explained that his return is the result of a bet struck in the Royal Ascot car park with the owner of his mount. What makes this interesting from a betting angle is that the race is a 0-70 Classified Stakes, meaning that you cannot be rated more than 70 to run in it.
Formerly rated in the 90s, Cliffs of Capri has dropped to exactly the ceiling mark of 70 with the same precision that Jamie will no doubt be aiming for with his weight. Those who watch the Racing League will know the enthusiasm with which Jamie embraces a challenge and those social media posts introducing him to something called a gym at Oaksey House show a level of commitment that means he is not lining up just to make up the numbers.
Trainer and former rider Adrian Nicholls also has a chance in the Legends race but however he fares he can go home happy courtesy of THORNABY PEARL 4/1 (17:20 Doncaster) ridden by his daughter Mia. Runner up in a similar race at the meeting last year he can make all having run well over course and distance in July, a race that has worked out particularly strongly. Mia rides for the first time and is good value for a 7lb claim that won’t last for much longer.
Away from Doncaster, SACRED FALLS 4/5 (14:50 Musselburgh) can turn over Alexi Boy in the 5f novice race. This is Sacred Falls’ first try at the minimum trip having just failed to last home at Hamilton over 6f last time. He is also drawn closer to the stands rail of the pair which can be extremely useful in keeping inexperienced tiring horses in a straight line.
JOCKEYS FOR COURSES
All three of our listed riders on Friday rode at least one winner (James Doyle had two), so hopefully today’s duo can repeat the feat.
Doncaster – William Buick (99/473 1.17 A/E) One shy of a century of winners as of Saturday morning and winners on both of the last two days on Town Moor.
Musselburgh – Clifford Lee (17/64 1.56 A/E), including three of his last five mounts at the track.
CLIFFS OF CAPRI 10/1 (15:00, Doncaster)
CACHET 11/5 (15:35, Doncaster)
THORNABY PEARL 4/1 (17:20, Doncaster)