Doncaster Racecourse

The first day of Doncaster’s four-day St Leger meeting is today’s racing highlight. Conditions were described as a mix of good and good to soft on Tuesday morning with further showers forecast overnight and on raceday.

1.50 Doncaster

As is his wont, Jamie Spencer had STONE OF DESTINY too far out of his ground at Newmarket last time and I must give Andrew Balding’s 7-year-old another chance at a track where he landed the Portland Handicap over five-and-a-half furlongs at this meeting back in 2020 from a 10lbs lower mark.

He is entered in the Portland again at the weekend but is unlikely to get a run as he is number 36 in the weights, and he would escape a penalty if he won today given it is an apprentice contest. He has never won over 6f, and soft ground would be a concern, but granted no worse than good to soft then I think he can confirm the promise he showed at Goodwood on his penultimate start when he would have gone very close with a clear run.

Balding’s talented claimer Harry Davies is chasing the title apprentice title and he gets the each way vote. Note at the time of the horse holds two entries at Southwell in the Racing League on Thursday evening.

Recommendation: Stone Of Destiny EW at 8/1 EW with William Hill 5 places 

3.35 Doncaster

Umm Kulthum is one to consider in the G3 Sceptre Stakes for fillies and mares given she has bits of form last year with cut in the ground which give her a leading chance although she looked a non stayer on her sole previous attempt at this 7f trip.

Irish raider Nectaris and German challenger NOVEMBRA are drawn near the stands’ rail, and I hope they do not get embroiled in a pace duel as both like to lead. The latter has her first start at this distance since she was well beaten – held up – as a juvenile.

She was slowly away at Ascot last time, but she is better than that and this drop back in distance on ground with a bit of cut looks ideal. His jockey has yet to ride a winner in Britain – has only had one previous ride – and he may face a battle for the lead with Ryan Moore on Nectaris.

There will be many who dismiss her chance just on the back of that, but I think she deserves to be clear market leader and 4/1 looks a very fair price although I appreciate she could help set the race up for the closers.

Recommendation: Novembra at 4/1 with Corals

3.15 Uttoxeter

TEDHAM did us a favour when scoring over three miles here last time and a 6lbs rise seems more than fair especially when you consider he was oncerated 130+ over timber and the runner up – Aviewtosea – did us a favour at Bangor-on-Dee last month. He would indeed merit nap material were it not for the fact that a couple of the Jonjo O’Neill inmates have performed poorly in recent weeks.

Both Tedham and Kabrit were ridden by Nick Schofield last time and the latter saved our each way cash when getting up close home for fourth at Worcester last time having been given far too much to do by the jockey although he did make a bad mistake when making his belated move on the final circuit.

Jonny Burke takes over in the saddle aboard Kabrit and I was tempted by the 11/1 available although he would not be best served by any significant rain.

Recommendation: Tedham at 11/8 with William Hill

7.00 Kempton

Roger Varian has his string in good form and MANAAFITH has her first start of the year having won two of three starts as a juvenile. The filly beat a colt – Assessment – cosily at Chelmsford last time giving the latter 2lbs and the runner up is now rated 86. With that in mind Manaafith looks fairly treated on her handicap debut off a mark of 84.

The Varian stable are in good form with 11 winners in the last fortnight at a strike rate of over 30%, the selection has a good draw in stall three and she should have a decent pace to follow whilst market rival Lila Girl – who is chasing a four-timer for Michael Bell – is drawn wide in stall nine.

Recommendation: Manaafith at 2/1 with William Hill

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