St Leger Festival - Doncaster

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The last of the Great British Classics this season, the St Leger Stakes, is fast approaching and there is much to look forward to. This four day festival takes place at Doncaster racecourse from 13th - 16th September with plenty of action jam packed into each day. The St Leger is the oldest of the five British Classic races and the last to take place this season. Known as the most prestigious races in the world, the Classics form what is known as the Triple Crown which, was last claimed by Nijinsky in 1970. There is a saying that suggests that “The fastest horse wins the Guineas; the luckiest the Derby - and the best horse wins the St Leger.”.

The festival starts on the Wednesday 13th with a charity race whereby retired jockey legends dust off their boots and breeches and get back in the saddle for a 1 mile contest. Money raised goes to two very deserving causes, the Northern Racing College and Jack Berry House; a rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys. Thursday is Ladies Day where fashionistas can parade their stylish outfits in a bid to win best dressed. The penultimate day offers the gentlemen an opportunity to dress to impress. The Doncaster Cup takes place on this day as well as other spectacles such as sports car displays and laser clay pigeon shooting. The showpiece of the week is the William Hill St Leger Stakes which, takes place on the Friday over a distance of 1m 6f. The winner of the Group 1 feature race will take home an incredible £700,000.

Last year saw George Baker giving a brilliant ride to go on and win on Laura Mongan trained Harbour Law, who only had a Maiden and minor handicap win to his name and went off at 22-1. This year there is a glint of hope in Aidan O'Brien's eye for a fifth victory in this race as one of the 12 potential entries for the 2017 running is son of Galileo, Capri. Speaking of numerous winings, Frankie Dettori has had an incredible spin round this course for the St Leger and has passed the winning post first on five occasions. Other potential contenders for the 2017 Classic include Sir Michael Stoute’s, Crystal Ocean, who won the Goodwood’s Gordon Stakes earlier in August.  

Doncaster racecourse is situated in the heart of South Yorkshire where both Flat and National Hunt races take place throughout the year. There are several options for tickets and hospitality. RacingBreaks offers grandstand tickets for the St Leger Friday for only £35!! County, Premier and Family enclosures are also available to buy for the the festival. But, make sure to book now before sell out!! An enjoyable week of racing, fun and frolics not to be missed!

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Racing Breaks tipster - Quickended Clear - has all you need to know in preperation for the festival. Here's a little word:

The oldest classic returns a week on Saturday as the St. Leger finishes off what is a great festival of racing at Doncaster. A fascinating race could well be in store for us if all the fancied horses turn up on Town Moor in what is a tough test of both stamina and class for three year olds. We will list the leading contenders along with Quickened Clear’s exclusive rating. For more information visit the Form Ratings page.

Capri – 134+

Seemingly not one of the main contenders for Ballydoyle when a fair sixth in the Epsom Derby appearing to not handle the course, stepped up on that form with a tenacious effort to hold on and defeat Cracksman and Wings Of Eagles in the Irish version. Should stay and has to be respected coming out top on the figures, with any rain in his favour.

Stradivarius – 132++

Has not looked back since moving up to staying distances, winning a strong looking Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot before defeating Gold Cup winner Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup. This son of Sea The Stars won his last two starts in a manner that suggests we have not seen the best of him with improvement likely.

Venice Beach – 131+

Put in his place by an impressive Cracksman last time in the Great Voltigeur, a good trial for this race, Venice Beach has some solid form and may well improve for a step up to the Leger trip and cannot be totally ruled out at a big 20/1.

Crystal Ocean – 128++

Visually impressive in the Gordon Stakes when defeating Khalidi and like many in the family will stay well, but the race he won did not look to have much strength in depth and this improving type will have to find more to be competitive.

Defoe – 127++

Unbeaten this season moving through the ranks from handicaps to a Group Three culminating in a cosy victory at Newbury, defeating Frontiersman and Wall Of Fire. Difficult to know how much more there is to come and like Crystal Ocean needs to improve again to figure in this, though jockey Andrea Atzeni described him as a better horse than 2014 St.Leger winner Kingston Hill.

Raheen House – 127+

Relished the step up to a mile and five furlongs in the Bahrain Trophy Stakes at Newmarket defeating Desert Skyline, who gives the form a solid look. Needs to improve to be competitive but this has been his target since July and the St. Leger distance may bring out the best in him.

Coronet – 127+

John Gosden’s daughter of Dubawi has had a busy season but does shape like the extra two and a half furlongs could suit. An interesting contender if lining up but one suspects the Park Hill may be the preferred option.

Rekindling – 125+, Count Octave – 122+, Melodic Motion – 122++, Bin Battuta – 125+ are all good staying types and though probably not good enough to win the St. Leger have definite place claims at big odds.

Conclusion:

At current odds the 5/1 about Stradivarius looks the best value, the way he has finished both his recent wins suggest there is more in the tank and already a Group One winner over two miles, he has few questions to answer. Defoe won last time at Newbury without being asked many questions, travelling notably well and is the dark horse @ 6/1. At longer odds Raheen House, with Group One form as a juvenile when fourth in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, could go well over the St. Leger trip @ 14/1 while another who will enjoy the test of stamina is Venice Beach who should not be discounted @ 20/1.


Check out the Quickended Clear website by clicking here

 

Click here for more information on tickets.


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Olivia Spiller