Horse racing editor’s picks for Day 1 of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting on Wednesday.
Before the Group action begins on Thursday, we have a range of competitive contests, which include a Class 2 Conditions event, to get the 2014 St. Leger Festival at Doncaster underway.
The highest rated runner on official ratings is Nabucco (7/2 bet365), a representative of John Gosden. This horse was hugely progressive as a four-year-old, winning a number of highly competitive handicaps as well as concluding his 2013 campaign with a Listed success. His first two starts of this season saw him run well and place in a pair of Listed contests however, he has seemingly gone off the boil of late finishing well beaten in his last two starts, albeit in Group 3 company. Given his recent form, and the fact he would prefer ground with some give in it (3 of his 4 wins have come on ground with soft in the description) he is worth taking on.
Another entrant who has run well in the past and who has form in the book to comfortably take this prize is Bayrir (8/1 Ladbrokes). This son of Medicean has won at Group 1 leave in the USA as a three-year-old, claiming the Secretariat Stakes in good fashion. He has however, gone two years without a victory and without a really solid effort. He makes his second racecourse appearance for new trainer Marco Botti and, despite his expertise in improving horses who come to him from abroad, this horses’ recent form coupled with the fact he has to concede at least 6lbs doesn't make him an attractive betting proposition.
Thanks mainly to the common small field sizes, the last three renewals of this race have been won by horses who have led and dictated matters from the front. Pace, therefore is key and, of the six runners who line-up, the most likely to bounce out and lead is the Godolphin runner Cap O’Rushes (7/1 Ladbrokes). A winner of last years Group 3 Gordon Stakes this horse performed well over 12f as a three-year-old but steps done in trip for this contest after two poor displays this season over 12 and 14 furlongs. Considering the the recent history of the race and this horses’ tendencies to lead he is worth noting as he could well prosper at generous odds if left alone too long at the front.
The selection however, is the other Godolphin runner in the field – CLON BRULEE (2/1 bet365). At present this horse looks to have the best recent form in the race, winning a tough Class 2 handicap on his penultimate start and then only loosing out by just under two lengths in another difficult handicap, whilst giving the winner some 19lbs. He tends to race up with the pace, getting a good tow into the contest before unleashing his potent turn of foot. He could well do the same here, benefitting from Cap O’Rushes taking the field along and allowing him to pounce from a furlong or two out. His trainer, Saeed bin Suroor has won this contest on three occasions in the last 10 years, including in 2013 and, with the help of Ryan Moore, an eye-catching jockey booking, he should be able to claim another success with Clon Brulee.
Of the others, Red Galileo (8/1 Coral) ran well in this year’s Derby but looks flattered by the result on what he has produced since then. Magic Hurricane (7/1 William Hill) looks a progressive handicapper but has some 10lbs to find at least to enter contention and should struggle to do so here.
4.10 – CLON BRULEE (WIN)(NAP) (2/1 bet365)
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