Best bets for the Cazoo St Leger Festival - Day Four & Irish Champions Weekend

It is a very busy weekend of action with top-class racing here in the UK and across the Irish Sea plus there are some big names out over the Channel in France for Arc Trials Day.  

It does piss me off that the various international bodies can’t get together and plan these top-class meetings better, it’s ridiculous to have so much top-drawer action in one weekend across three basically neighbouring countries – they’ll be moaning about small fields next! 

I have tried to stay relatively selective as with this amount of action it is very easy to find yourself with dozens of bets running; I still have eight. It could be a big day for Godolphin at Doncaster, and hopefully will be, as I am on a few of theirs, plus I have some bets out in Ireland over the two days Irish Champions meeting. 

Best bets for the horse racing at Doncaster Saturday  

They get underway at 1.15 with the Vertem Nursery up the straight mile. Fall Of Rome has form figures of 23312 and I have backed him every start of his career. A frustrating one to follow obviously but I remain convinced he has a decent future and he always runs a decent race. He has looked better suited to seven on his last two starts and can carry top-weight to victory in this. I took 9-4 on Friday. 

The 2.20 Group Two 7f Champagne Stakes looks to be between Reach For The Moon and Lusail the Gosden trained colt getting the 3lb from his rival. The Queen's horse would be the preference after his impressive G.3 Solario Stakes win but I can’t be on at the odds - I wonder if her Maj has lumped on?

My old mate D'bai goes in the 3.00 the Group Two Cazoo Park Stakes over 7f. He ran no sort of race in the G.2 Hungerford Stakes last month at Newbury but did win the G.2 Zabeel Mile at Meydan at the Carnival in Dubai (tipped on here) suggesting he is still a horse with some talent. Having to give the three-year-olds weight looks a hard task. He has placed-up here twice over track and trip. Buick appears to have chosen Glorious Journey over D’bai. Laneqash, second in that aforementioned Hungerford Stakes, looks to have a good opportunity here. That will have blown away the cobwebs for the lightly raced three-year-old and with likely improvement to come he is the one to be on and I took 7-4 on Friday afternoon.  

We have the final Classic of the Turf season, the Group One St Leger at 3.35, and my ante-post punt Hurricane Lane at 11-4 would appear to be in a very strong position to follow up wins in the G.1 Irish Derby and G.1 Grand Prix de Paris. See the Classics page for more details.  

In the lucky last the Vermantia Handicap over the straight mile another I have been following, Royal Fleet, lines-up. A staying on fifth in a mile handicap at York last month he was unbeaten in his first three starts and remains on interest off a mark off 100. He was perhaps a bit too far back when they got racing in that race and Buick kept him up to his work but little more when his chance had gone. He is worth a punt in this at the 7-2.  

Best bets for the horse racing at Leopardstown Saturday

The big race is due off at 2.45 the Group One 1m2f Irish Champion Stakes. St Marks Basilica has done me a couple of favours this season already and despite the fact I am a big Tarnawa fan, she's a member of the Dirty Dozen, I have to be on the three-year-old colt. I said when I tipped him to win the G.1 Coral Eclipse that I thought he was arguably the best of the three-year-old colts at Ballydoyle, he has confirmed now he is THE best and in fact is officially joint top-rated three-year-old in Europe. I took 5-4 on Thursday as I was surprised he wasn’t odds-on.  

At 4.20 we have the 7f Irish Stallion Farms EBF "Sovereign Path" Handicap with the full eighteen due to run. The one to catch my eye is the lightly raced three-year-old Juddmonte homebred Masen trained by Ger Lyons. With 9-11 to carry due to the race conditions he is ‘well-in’ being top-rated with an OR of 104. Perhaps a little too free in his running at Killarney Last time when beaten into second, a hood goes on here and if the son of Kingman can be held onto a little longer he should be able to take full advantage of the weight allowance he gets. I have the 4-1 overnight..  

Best bets for the horse racing at the Curragh Sunday

Love is the standout name in the 1m2f Group Two Moyglare 'Jewels' Blandford Stakes at 2.30 and is priced accordingly. She should win under a 3lb penalty dropping in class and I have the 11-10 that was about on Friday. Thundering Nights is reliable if not a star and La Petite Coco is feared most if she can improve again.  

I am leaving the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes alone as I think they are tricky heats.

Charlie Appleby sends the unbeaten Native Trail over to the Curragh for the Group One Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at 4.05; he was also in the G.2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster this weekend but would have had a penalty there. “Native Trail’s prep has gone well. It has always been the plan to progress from the G2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket to the National Stakes at the Curragh. It’s a well-trodden path for ourselves,” the trainer pointed out earlier this week. I am told by people that know about these things that Native Trail has shown a remarkably long stride in his races and that is certainly no bad thing a number of top-class horses having notably long strides. The rising finish at the Curragh makes the seven furlongs there a proper test and that should suit. I took the 7-2 on Thursday and he promptly drifted! Point Lonsdale will be all the rage for ‘the lads’ from Ballydoyle unbeaten in four starts as he is. The colt won the G.2 Futurity Stakes easily enough but I think the Godolphin colt will give him a lot more to think about than Maritime Wings who he has beaten the last twice. Whichever beast wins this will probably be favourite for the 2,000 Guineas over winter.  

I can’t say I have a strong fancy for the Group One 1m6f Comer Group International Irish St. Leger at 4.40.  

Horse racing at Longchamp France on Sunday

Sunday is also the Longchamp Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Trials card and they are always worth watching; I have said before though it can be a punting minefield and it’s not unusual for a short-priced one to get turned over. The filly everyone will be watching is Snowfall going in the Group One 1m4f Qatar Prix Vermeille but she’ll be no price, already as short as 9-4 for the Arc. Alpinista is the only one to shoe for the older generation but as good as she is I can’t see her giving the favourite 8lb and a beating. Bolshoi Ballet will likely be short in the Group Two Qatar Prix Neil whilst Skalleti is also available at skinny odds in the Group Two Prix Foy. I expect many will have multiples running but I won’t be punting in any of the races this year.  

Be lucky