Watch every race of the Pertemps St Leger Festival 2020 live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) from Wednesday 9th to Saturday 12th September.
Already a Listed winner, Nigel Tinkler’s progressive colt is primed to run a big race against his elders in receipt of a whopping 22lb from recent northern-based Listed winners Dakota Gold and Moss Gill. The Malton trainer has booked top jockey Andrea Atzeni to partner the son of Mehmas, who supplemented a Goodwood Festival nursery success with victory at this level in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes at York last month.
The trailblazing Acklam Express, who also holds an entry in the Group 2 Flying Childers later in the week, won’t mind any give in the ground and can prove hard to peg back under his light weight.
Andreas Atzeni, who boasts such a fine record on Town Moor, will be sweating to do 8st 4lb for Jedd O’Keeffe on the improving Strait Of Hormuz. He made a similar sacrifice for William Haggas at Haydock last week and reaped the rewards with an eight-length success. I know the Italian was keen to secure the ride on this three-year-old, who only just failed to reel in the winner of a 10f handicap at Chester last month.
The gelding has been nudged up just 1lb for that career-best performance and should have similar underfoot conditions on a galloping track that will play to his strengths.
Karl Burke’s filly is clearly on the upgrade after comfortably beating her stable companion in a 6f conditions event at Chester last month and switches to this fillies’ handicap off an unchanged mark. The additional half-furlong can only be in her favour as she’s bred to get further and is another who is effective with some give in the ground.
Interestingly, Spright’s half-brother Morning Post won the valuable sales race over the same trip at this meeting a few years ago.
The Sweet Solera winner will need to improve again to win this Group 2, which is a reliable pointer to next year’s Classics, but further progress is on the cards. She made a mockery of her big price in Group 3 company at Newmarket, coping better than expected with the rising ground after getting unbalanced in Listed company at Sandown previously.
She picked up strongly to collar Dubai Fountain, proving she is firmly on the upgrade – an opinion shared by her trainer Kevin Ryan who has been looking forward to trying her over such a galloping mile.
Kevin Ryan has a good record in this race and has strong claims of improving on last year’s close second with Repartee when the progressive Cairn Island lines up for this valuable cavalry charge in the same ownership.
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s son of Invincible Spirit confirmed the promise of his 6f success in an Ayr novice by taking a hot nursery over the same trip at York’s Ebor Festival. He was doing all his best work in the closing stages over six on The Knavesmire so won’t be inconvenienced by this additional yardage or the likely strong early pace.
Already twice successful over 6f at Hamilton this season, Julie Camacho’s three-year-old justified favouritism in emphatic style a month ago when he relished the easy conditions. The expected give in the ground in midweek at Doncaster is in his favour and the son of Garswood can defy a 7lb rise when he steps up in grade on Thursday.
What’s more, Edgewood is proven on the track, having won a course and distance maiden last year for previous trainer James Bethell. He also holds an entry in the 6.5f handicap at Doncaster on Friday en route to a likely crack at the Ayr Silver Cup.
A resolute second to hot pot Steel Bull in the Group 3 Molecomb on only his second start, this colt probably should have fared better in the Listed Roses Stakes at York last month but may have had an excuse on the rain-softened ground. He was also drawn out on the wing and got into an early speed duel with eventual winner Acklam Express.
However, drying conditions at Town Moor – both his previous efforts including his debut win were achieved on good ground – will be in his favour so I expect him to justify his rating of 102 despite being overlooked in the ante-post market.
Despite remaining a maiden after two starts, Karl Burke’s colt boasts a lofty rating of 105 but can prove himself a genuine Group performer in the making with victory in this Listed feature. Karl Burke put him in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at the same meeting but sees this 7f contest as a better stepping stone at this stage.
This good looking individual announced himself a likely future star when only just failing to land the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York and may yet prove himself a worthy candidate for the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes come mid-October.
Richard Fahey’s gelding was a shade unlucky to bump into such an exciting rival as the fast-finishing Brunch in a Class 2 handicap for three-year-olds over 1m at York last month after hitting the front well inside the final furlong. He was only half a length behind that rival at the line, however, and has the tools to acquit himself well off a 4lb higher mark over Doncaster’s straight mile.
A 5lb age allowance leaves him potentially well treated against older opposition but don’t expect to see him at the business end until late in the game.
Michael Dods, who excels with his sprinters, looked to have another star on his hands when Jawwaal spreadeagled a quality field at Ascot in July to supplement a 5f success at Doncaster on his seasonal re-appearance. Unsurprisingly, he was backed to follow up at York’s Ebor meeting last month but didn’t finish off his race as well as anticipated, despite travelling with his usual fluency.
An 8lb rise was probably less of a factor than the ground, which may have been a little slower than he preferred. Drying conditions are forecast in South Yorkshire come the weekend so I’m prepared to give him another chance to shine over this intermediate trip.
SIMON's ST LEGER FESTIVAL SELECTIONS:
2.10 Acklam Express
3.45 Strait Of Hormuz (Nb)
2.10 Star Of Emaraaty
2.40 Cairn Island
2.40 Ben Macdui
3.45 Spycatcher (Nap)