The last British Classic of the season is up for grabs at Doncaster on Saturday and wouldn’t it be fitting if Mark Johnston could celebrate becoming Britain’s most successful trainer in terms of winners of all time with a St Leger success.
There’s also a fantastic card over at Leopardstown on day one of Irish Champions Weekend, where Roaring Lion goes for the big one.
There is no shortage of top-tier racing to get stuck into this weekend and, the good news, the action runs right through until late evening in Ireland after Doncaster is finished!
Dee Ex Bee, 14/1 each-way (St Leger, Doncaster 15:35)
It is 14 years since Mark Johnston claimed his second Classic success with Attraction taking the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The Middleham handler has vowed to go after more of the big races in the latter years of his training career and he gets his last Classic opportunity of 2018 in the St Leger.
The hope is that Doncaster will bring out the best in the Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee. The Epsom run was laced with promise but it just hasn’t happened for the Farhh colt since.
This race has been on his agenda since early summer and there has also been a look to Dee Ex Bee that suggests he might offer more when tackling the extra yardage of the St Leger.
Having won on testing ground before, the prospect of meeting an easier surface for the first time since he raced on good in the Derby may also serve him well.
If he can recapture his Epsom form, then he’s going to pose a threat to the likely market leaders on Town Moor.
Rostropovich – 7/4 to win (16.55 Leopardstown)
Aidan O’Brien fires two of the seven runners in the Group 3 Paddy’s Rewards Club Stakes over 1m4f at Leopardstown and his Rostropovich looks the best equipped for this task.
The son of Frankel has excelled since stepping up to this sort of trip this summer. He ran a cracker behind St Leger-bound Old Persian at Royal Ascot in June and then, just eight days later, finished second to Latrobe in the Irish Derby.
He couldn’t match the likes of Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean in the King George at Ascot in July but ran a sound race and has enjoyed a nice break since.
This is a drop in class and Donnacha O’Brien’s mount is entitled to account for the likes of stablemate Giuseppe Garibaldi and Stellar Mass.
Too Darn Not, Alpha Centauri and Roaring Lion all to win @ 5/2
There are no such things as certainties in racing but Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes (15:00) at Doncaster as well Alpha Centauri in the Matron Stakes (15:25) at Leopardstown are going to prove extraordinarily tough to stop on Saturday.
They can make weight for a tasty treble and leave Roaring Lion to bring up the winnings in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (18:35).
John Gosden’s charge put the likes of Poet’s Word to the sword last month in the Juddmonte International at York. He has become a rock-solid performer this summer. Beaten by Saxon Warrior in the Guineas at Newmarket in May, Roaring Lion has three times got the best of that old foe since and can do so again now.
He looks booked for the €712,500 first prize with red-hot Oisin Murphy for company in the saddle and hopefully they’ll complete a nice treble.
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