It is the annual trip to the Oval on Friday for the Cricket – sadly a Test Match that basically does not matter now - so I am going up early with the bets for the weekend as a huge hangover is forecast on Saturday morning!
It is the St Leger on Saturday the oldest Classic of them all. Logician will face seven rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line and I am sitting on a ticket at 6-4 and I am very happy with that. Unbeaten in four runs including the Group 2 St Voltiger at York last time he looks a solid punt with, hopefully, more improvement yet to come. Talking at the start of the week Nicola McGeady, head of PR at Ladbrokes, said "Although Aidan O’Brien has six of the 11 entries, it is Logician who we are running scared of. Ever since winning the Great Voltigeur Stakes, support for him has been constant." Trainer John Gosden is hoping the race will prove the perfect test for his charge. “He has been in great form since York,” said the Newmarket trainer. He is a very relaxed character and he has a lovely big, long, loping stride. I thought (back in May) this might be a Leger horse. He has come a long way in a short time. The nice long straight at Doncaster should suit him well. But it will not just be Aidan and our one horse – there are other horses in play, and I’ve mentioned one that won at Goodwood (Sir Ron Priestley). It has more depth to the field than people are making out.” The initial plan for Sir Dragonet was the Arc but plans changed and he comes here for a tilt at the Leger O’Brien explaining the change of plan recently “The St Leger is an important race and a very prestigious race and we felt there was a good chance he could get the trip.” If he stays he is the colt I fear most. Ballydoyle also have Lonsdale Cup third Il Paradiso and rank outsider Western Australia.
Elsewhere on the card we have the Group Two 7f Park Stakes at 2.25. Guineas second King Of Change and the mare One Master were on my shortlist but neither run. The other on my list was Shine So Bright who just got the better of Laurens in the G.2 City Of York Stakes last time making the weight-for-age advantage pay but now has to carry 3lb more than the other 3yo’s because of that win but looks capable of doing it. I took a bit of the 11-8 that was around on Thursday afternoon.
The 7f Group Two Champagne Stakes at 3.00 is a race that has cut-up somewhat, no doubt affected by Champions Weekend out in Ireland. Gimcrack Stakes winner Threat is the obvious choice on known form stepping-up to seven for this first time with the big guns from Ballydoyle staying away. The chestnut is clearly decent but has to give them all 3lb. The lads from Ballydoyle do run Fort Myers and Royal Dornoch but both look up against it here. Royal Crusade won on debut at HQ over 7f under hands and heels riding, you can ignore the official distance he was eased down, and is a promising one for Charlie Appleby. I liked the performance and have 7-2 about the colt here against the favourite as I think the jolly might be vulnerable.