The ITV cameras are at Doncaster for the first day of their St Leger meeting this afternoon. William Haggas introduces a well-bred newcomer Mohaafeth in the opener and fits Mayaas (1.45) with first-time cheekpieces in the following 7f nursery.
The colt is 3lbs better off with Terry Kent’s Ataser for the length he was behind that rival at York last time when he compromised his chance with a slow start. He followed the winner through on that occasion and could not be described as an unlucky loser, but the hope is that the headgear sharpens the two-year-old up from the gates. The son of Dark Angel has now been a beaten favourite in all three career starts but the 5/1 with bet365 looks a fair price with a decent draw in eight – stalls stands’ side.
The 1000 Guineas runner up Cloak Of Spirits and Jubiloso – too free to do herself justice at Royal Ascot on her reappearance – must go close in the feature Gp 3 Sceptre Stakes over 7f but the each way vote goes to Invitational (3.15) who reared as the stalls opened at Goodwood last time and lost all chance for a filly who had previously gone from the front when running a big race in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes over a mile at the Royal meeting. Her finishing position tells us she only beat two home – one of them was Jubiloso – but she led to just before the furlong pole in that mile contest having gone off a shade too quickly. The ew selection is 12/1 at William Hill who are betting 4 places on the race.
Strait Of Hormuz has a moderate draw to overcome in stall 11 but I thought he ran a very good race on his first start over 10f at Chester last time although they all finished in a bit of a heap. The booking of Andrea Atzeni is a positive.
Things have not gone according to plan for John Gosden’s Hypothetical (3.45) so far this term but he has been given plenty of time to get over a disappointing run at Royal Ascot when he was far too free on soft ground. He had also been too fresh on his reappearance when beaten less than 5L in Kempton’s Classic Trial – transferred from Sandown Park.
There should be no problems with underfoot conditions this afternoon, he is well drawn in stall five and the hope is that he is more amenable to restraint today. This extended 10f trip is as far as he wants to go and it is possible that his future lies over shorter trips, but he remains a colt of some potential and he is in the very best of hands. The ew recommendation is 9s with Unibet.
The draw in stall eight is a concern for Itkaann (2.25) but he is taken to follow up his recent Salisbury success back on Kempton’s polytrack from a 7lbs higher mark. The colt – 11/4 with William Hill – looked potentially smart when landing his maiden here back in December although it would be foolish to get carried away with the form.
Sirobbie’s (4.10) course record at Uttoxeter is 11162 with the second coming on his chase debut on his reappearance. That form has already been franked by the good subsequent efforts of the winner and third and the hope is that Harry Whittingham’s six-year-old will go one better in handicap company against largely exposed – but some inform – rivals. The 3s with bet365 is fair.
New Quay (4.45) is a horse I still feel has lots of potential, but this looks something of a fact-finding mission with stable conditional William Marshall taking over in the saddle. I remember him winning over hurdles at Ascot and thinking he was one to follow when sent over fences. That success was gained over two-and-a-half-miles on good ground and he has similar conditions this afternoon. The defection of Lock’s Corner improves his chances and the 6s at Boylesports is a fair ew price.
The soft ground was no help to Mustang Alpha (5.15) at Cartmel on his reappearance but this winning point-to-pointer – on good ground – is potentially well treated despite the steadier of 12st in the concluding novices’ handicap hurdle. Jamie Snowden’s is a yard – like Charlie Longsdon – that I associate with good ground horses and the yard have been amongst the winners again of late. The 9s with Boylesports is too big in my opinion as long as the ground remains good or faster.