Find all previous Seymour Biz racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
It’s race week in Donny but not as we know it! Due to the last-minute change in the lockdown arrangements, there will be no public attendance for Saturday’s racing so everyone will have to rely on television to watch the final classic of the year.
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ITV are covering four races from Town Moor including the last classic, the St Leger, along with two Group races and the Portland Handicap. This is backed up by a couple of races from Chester where I presume people will be able to watch the racing from the Town walls or the nearby Grosvenor Bridge. Finally, this is all topped off with the Irish Champion Stakes from Leopardstown where Ghaiyyath will try to hold off the O’Brien hordes when they try to swamp his front running tactics. So with all this going on here are my thoughts for the best value in the televised races and this week’s Lucky Fifteen.
Starting with the big betting race of the day, the bet365 Portland Handicap at 2.25 at Doncaster it looks like Charles Hills A Momentofmadness could go off as favourite. He won this race in 2018 and was second last year however his form has not been wonderful this season. His best effort was last time out at Goodwood where he managed to hit the frame and I’m sure Hills will have had this race in mind since the beginning of the lockdown but his form is a worry and he is a 7-year-old now after all. Soldier’s Minute from Keith Dalgleish’s stable has run well since racing resumed without getting into the winners’ enclosure. His latest start at York where he was runner up was his best run of the season and he had several of the horses he will meet here behind him that day and he should confirm that result. However there is one of who may come out of the pack and that is Kevin Ryan’s Justanotherbottle, the trainer is hoping for a big run from him and will try him in headgear after he was eased when beaten last time. Arecibo has had a good season for trainer David O’Meara but is another who has failed to win in eight attempts this year and may have to settle for a place once again. There should also be a mention for Ed Walker’s Mountain Peak who has won twice this year at Haydock and carries a 5lb penalty for that latest victory, he is improving and is another who can make the frame but I give the nod to Justanotherbottle.
At 3.00 we have the bet365 Park Stakes and the Group 1 winner Limato turns up here. This 8-year-old has won on his only outing this season and is a course and distance winner, he is the class act in this contest. Breathtaking Look won last time out in heavy ground at Deauville but Stuart Williams’s mare will have a higher class of opponent here. William Haggas’s One Master was well beaten at York last time when favourite after previously winning at Goodwood but the mare’s allowance may not be enough to take this. The 3-year-old Wichita from Aidan O’Brien’s stable looks interesting, he ran a fine second in the 2000 Gns in June and this drop back to Group 2 company may be the opportunity for him to notch his first victory of the season however Limato is a formidable opponent.
The Pertemps St Leger Stakes is at 3.35 and the bookies currently have joint favourites with Pyledriver and Santiago, the latter trained by Aidan O’Brien. He won over this distance at Royal Ascot in June then won at the Curragh when dropping down in distance but was unsuccessful when running against Stradivarius over 2 miles in the Goodwood Cup, so perhaps this is his optimum distance. Much had been made that Pyledriver cost only £10,000gns but has had such a successful career to date but he steps into Group 1 company here and he failed to shine in the Derby. How good is Galileo Chrome? He is unbeaten as a 3-year-old in Ireland and Joseph O’Brien sends him over for this race after victory over 1m5f at Navan, if he gets plenty of rain he may be placed. I am hoping for a good run from Owen Burrows’ Hukum, he beat Subjectivist in a handicap at Royal Ascot then won over 1m5f at Newbury last month where he ran on really strongly and he is my selection here.
Finally at Chester it is the Commonhall Street Social Handicap at 2.40 and here I can see a warm favourite that may be turned over. That horse is David Simcock’s Prejudice who has been runner-up on the last couple of occasions including when only beaten a short head on the all-weather at Newcastle but whether he will handle the tight turns of the Roodeye is a different matter. Ralph Beckett’s Victory Chime has shown good form in his campaigns but this is a step up in class for his gelding who failed when racing at this level last time out at Sandown. My preference is for the old boy of the party, Ian Williams’s Restorer, this 8-year-old grey has won in this grade round Chester and ran a fine second here last month, I pick him to go one better this time.
Saturday Lucky Fifteen
2.25 Doncaster. Justanotherbottle
3.00 Doncaster. Limato
3.35 Doncaster. Hukum
2.40 Chester. Restorer