Saturday is St Leger Day at Doncaster, the final British Classic of the season, while there’s a bumper opening afternoon of the Irish Champions Weekend over at Leopardstown.
There is no shortage of top-tier racing to get stuck into this weekend and the good news is that the action runs right through until late evening in Ireland after Doncaster is finished!
Dee Ex Bee, 14/1 each-way (St Leger, Doncaster 15:35)
He is now Britain’s most successful trainer of all time, but it is 14 years since Mark Johnston claimed his second Classic success with Attraction taking the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
In the run-up to his passing of the landmark tally of British winners, the Middleham handler suggested his hope for the future was to take more chances, and thereby grab more success, in the Classics.
He gets one last chance for 2018 and the hope is that Doncaster will bring out the best in the Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee.
That Epsom run promised so much, but it hasn’t happened for the Farhh colt in three runs since.
He has always shaped as if the longer trip might bring about more improvement and the St Leger has been on his radar since early summer. Having won on testing ground before, the prospect of meeting an easier surface for the first time since he raced on good in the Derby may also assist.
If he runs anywhere that form, and relishes the St Leger trip as many have predicted, his current odds are too long and he can give the market leaders plenty to consider.
Rostropovich, 7/4 to win (Leopardstown 16.55)
Aidan O’Brien fires two of the seven runners in the Group 3 Paddy’s Rewards Club Stakes over 1m4f at Leopardstown and his Rostropovich will be tough to beat.
A son of Frankel, he has come into his own this summer since being upped in trip. He ran a cracker behind St Leger-bound Old Persian at Royal Ascot in June and then, just eight days later, finished second to Latrobe in the Irish Derby.
He was outclassed in the King George at Royal Ascot by Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean, but there was no disgrace in that. This is a drop in class and Donnacha O’Brien’s mount is entitled to account for the likes of stablemate Giuseppe Garibaldi and Stellar Mass.
Too Darn Not, Alpha Centauri and Roaring Lion to win @ 5/2
There are no such things as certainties in racing but Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes (15:00) at Doncaster as well Alpha Centauri in the Matron Stakes (15:25) at Leopardstown will take some halting.
Assuming they are successful, this little win treble will be rolling onto Roaring Lion in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (18:35).
John Gosden’s charge put the likes of Poet’s Word to the sword last month in the Juddmonte International at York and has developed into a tough customer this summer. His defeat to Saxon Warrior in the Guineas at Newmarket is a distant memory, given he’s turned over that rival in each of their three meetings since.
Roaring Lion can confirm that superiority en route to landing this 712,500 euros first prize for the bang in-form Oisin Murphy in the saddle.
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