The feature race of Day 3 of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting is the Group 2 Doncaster Cup over a trip just shy of two-and-a-quarter miles.
Revolver is unbeaten this season having started the campaign off a mark of 57. Sir Mark Prescott’s gelding has won all six handicaps, but I feel – and hope if I was being honest – that he will fire a blank this afternoon.
Spanish Mission (3.15) was a facile scorer at Chester over an extended 1m 6f on his first start for Andrew Balding and I hope his class can see him home on his first start beyond two miles. His second to now stablemate Dashing Willoughby in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown back in July is, arguably, the best form on offer and this drying ground is a plus. The recommendation is 2/1 with 10bet.
Sleeping Lion (1.40) is only 3lbs higher than when winning the Mallard Handicap 12 months ago and this extended 14f – the same distance as Saturday’s Leger – looks his optimum trip. His draw out on the wing is a slight negative but he is reunited with Jamie Spencer for the first time since the pair combined to land the prize in 2019. The ew selection is 5s with Boylesports.
I thought it was the good to soft ground rather than the step up to 6f which led to the defeat of Sacred (2.40) in the Lowther at York last time and the return to the minimum trip will suit the William Haggas filly – 13/8 with Unibet – in the 5f Flying Childers. The Norfolk Stakes winner The Lir Jet and Glorious Goodwood winner Steel Bull look the main dangers in a hot renewal of this Gp 2 sprint.
Molinari bounced back from a poor effort to finish second at Chelmsford last time and he has the plum draw in stall one in Chester’s 10f handicap especially for one who likes to make the running. Drawn alongside him in stall two is Chichester (3.30) and the hope is that the Stoute runner can put behind a disappointing run at Windsor when forced to make his own running.
The colt – 9/4 with Boylesports – has been off the track for over 10 weeks after his last start which suggests connections identified a problem although he did look ill at ease on the fast ground on that occasion. Surrey Pride is the obvious danger after bouncing back to form at Newbury but an 8lbs rise for a neck success looks harsh although the third home has franked the form.
Andrew Balding has a good record at Chester and his Montanari made his debut in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Pinatubo last June. The colt has only had one subsequent start when second to a 100-rated horse – albeit in a three-runner race.
Baryshnikov (4.35) remains a maiden after 14 starts but he has been in good form of late and can finally get his head in front at the main expense of the Balding three-year-old who is entitled to come on for when will be his first start in over 12 months. Tom Marquand has been one of the jockeys of the season, but it was not his finest hour when the selection was beaten a head by a lightly raced horse of Ralph Beckett at Windsor last time. The selection is 15/8 with William Hill.
At Sandown Dubai Welcome (4.05) is fitted with first-time cheek-pieces on his handicap debut and the drop back to 10f looks sure to suit Saeed bin Suroor’s three-year-old who was caught close home at Kempton last month over an additional quarter of a mile. The winner disappointed stepped up in grade last time, but an opening mark of 85 looks fair for the grey son of Dubawi who is 9/2 at bet365.