St Leger meeting: five key horses to watch this week

Abingdon - Andrea Atzeni

Abingdon could prove hard to beat in the Park Hill

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

 By Alex Wiltshire 6:00pM 6 SEP 2016 

The St Leger meeting gets underway at Doncaster on Wednesday, and we take a look at some of the names who could be making the headlines on Town Moor.

Thursday (3.05) DFS Park Hill Stakes

This filly has made eyecatching progress in Listed company, most recently winning the Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes at York in August.

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, she steps up both in class and trip for this Group 2 contest run over the St Leger trip of 1m6f and looks a formidable prospect with Andrea Atzeni retaining the ride from York.

Stoute won this race, known as the Fillies’ St Leger, in 2007 and 2008 with Hi Calypso and Allegretto, and he looks to have a useful contender for the prize this year.

It will be a tough test though, with last season’s eventual St Leger winner Simple Verse among the opposition.


Lumiere (leading): has delighted and frustrated this season

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Friday (1.55) Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes

It has been a frustrating season for the Mark Johnston team when it comes to this filly, as he has shown signs of her sensational juvenile form, but two of her three runs have ended in heavy defeat.

After winning the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, she was the yard’s big 1,000 Guineas hope, but disappointed badly at Newmarket when last of 16.

However, a demolition job of her rivals in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes on the July course raised expectations again.

But pitched back into Group 1 company at Deauville for the Prix Rothschild she was a letdown, racing too freely to give herself any chance that day.

She also has an entry for the Weber Park Stakes on Saturday and, if she runs in either race, the hope is she will be back to form.

Sir Mark Prescott is hoping St Michel can emulate 2001 winner Alleluia

  PICTURE: Getty images  

St Michel
Friday (3.40) 250th Doncaster Cup

Sir Mark Prescott fielded the winner of this race last year with Pallasator and bids to hold on to his Doncaster Cup crown with prolific handicapper St Michel.

The three-year-old is rated 22lb inferior to market favourite Mizzou, however, Prescott pulled off a similar feat with Alleluia in 2001, who won two races in handicap company before landing this contest.

Alleluia, likewise, was a three-year-old and St Michel receives a hefty weight-for-age allowance from his elders over the stamina-sapping 2m2f trip.

Mehmas showed a good attitude to win the Richmond Stakes

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Saturday (2.00) At The Races Champagne Stakes

A combination of grit, talent and experience saw Al Shaqab’s star two-year-old down the much lauded Blue Point in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.

Should he be confirmed for this Group 2 contest, the step up to 7f would be a crucial test of his 2,000 Guineas credentials, as in the aftermath of his win at Goodwood trainer Richard Hannon suggested the son of Acclamation would struggle to stay the mile trip of the Newmarket Classic.

An authoritative performance would surely convince connections to keep him in training for a tilt at Classic glory next year, for which he is currently a best priced 20-1.

Idaho is now the odds-on favourite to land the oldest Classic

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Saturday (3.45) Ladbrokes St Leger

Aidan O’Brien has recorded just the one winner in this race over the last ten years, with Leading Light providing the Ballydoyle maestro with success back in 2013. However, he dominated the race in the early part of the millennium with Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003) and Scorpion (2005) all victorious.

O’Brien has gone agonisingly close in recent editions with Camelot denied Triple Crown immortality by Encke in 2012, and Bondi Beach first gaining the race in the stewards’ room, before losing it at BHA headquarters last year.

He looks set to saddle odds-on favourite Idaho this time, who is highly fancied to record an overdue fifth win for Ireland’s champion trainer.

The son of Galileo stepped out of Harzand’s shadow in winning the Great Voltigeur last time out, a first win since his maiden on debut, and it is hard to argue with his credentials to follow up in the world’s oldest Classic.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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