Doncaster Racecourse

Doncaster’s St Leger meeting begins with a seven-race card on ground described as good to firm – watered – with the possibility of a light shower on Thursday and Friday but with no significant rain due over the four days.

The Leger Legends race sees the return to the saddle of jumps greats Barry Geraghty and Richard Johnson and the former has been “fortunate” with the draw in that he rides the 70-rated Mumtaaz who will love the ground and has been well supported in recent days. He looks the one to beat but the maiden Natural Colour (2.50) is an each way alternative.

The filly – 6s 4 places with Boylesports – was too keen in first-time cheekpieces at Bath over 10f last time and drops back to a mile this afternoon. Former top class lightweight jockey Gary Bardwell takes the ride and is a regular in the race although he normally “draws” one of the outsiders in the field. He has never finished better than sixth in the race in nine previous rides, but he gets the each way vote on this lightly raced three-year-old.

In the listed 5f Sceptre Stakes Robert Cowell looks to have found an excellent opportunity for Arecibo (4.00) who has been performing well in Group company in the second half of the season having won a couple of competitive handicaps at the beginning of the summer. You can put a line through his run in the Nunthorpe last time when he was drawn on the wrong side of the track, and he is best judged on his second – arguably unlucky not to win – in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot back in June. 

The selection – 11/8 with William Hill – is drawn on the wing in stall one which is a negative and it is hard to see where the pace is in the race although I would be surprised if Jim Crowley didn’t go forward on Khaadem who drops back to the minimum trip for the first time. The 5-y-old entire could get a soft lead but I hope he helps set the race up for Jamie Spencer on the market leader.

The extended 5f trip in the finale should suit Rewaayat (5.00) who never got competitive from the worst of the draw at Chelmsford last time and can race from the same mark as when beaten just over a length – by Arecibo – at Newmarket on his reappearance back in the spring. The 6-y-old has only had 16 starts and his three career wins have come over six furlongs. He has been campaigned at the minimum trip in recent starts and this step back up in distance is considered a plus. There is 8s available at the time of posting on Tuesday evening but he is 13/2 at MansionBet who are betting 4 places.

There is a competitive jumps card at Uttoxeter and in the 2m 3f + handicap hurdle I hope there is more to come from Dal Horrisgle (3.35) over timber for Alan King. The selection – 15/8 with 10Bet – is slowly getting his act together over timber and followed up a win here in June when scoring at Market Rasen the following month. He still needs to brush up his hurdling, but he begins life in handicaps off a potentially attractive mark especially when you consider he is rated 94 on the level. Note he has had his wind operated on since his last start.

Jimmy The Digger is odds on for the 2m 4f handicap chase,but I thought Palixandre (4.10) ran an eye-catching race at Sedgefield coming back from a five-month absence last month over a trip that was obviously too far. He only has one career win to his name and that was over hurdles for Nicky Henderson but has been dropped a pound for his recent run in the northeast and is well treated over fences compared to his hurdles mark. The ew recommendation is 13/2 at William Hill.  

At Carlisle I hope to see Arranmore (3.50) maintain his unbeaten course record despite being 7lbs higher than when scoring here last month. David O’Meara’s 4-y-old – 9/4 with William Hill – ran another good race when second from a 2lbs lower mark at Beverley last time and he has certainly improved for the switch to his current stable and the application of cheekpieces.

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