KEW GARDENS (3.35) remains a confident selection in the William Hill St Leger, although the late decision to run Lah Ti Dar came as a bit of a shock to those of us holding ante-post vouchers on the Irish runner!
Aidan O’Brien’s son of Galileo has matured through the summer months, kicking off with a win in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, followed by Group 1 success in France. Kew Gardens stayed on stoutly into third behind Godolphin duo Old Persian and Cross Counter in the Great Voltigeur at York, at a time when several of the Ballydoyle horses weren’t firing on all cylinders. This extended 1m6f trip should bring out the very best in Kew Gardens.
Lah Ti Dar tackles stronger opposition but looked very good at York. If the principals are too skinny a price for your tastes, then Old Persian or Loxley would be the most obvious each-way alternatives.
The Portland Handicap has drawn a maximum 22-runner field and MARNIE JAMES (1.50) is the each-way call. Iain Jardine’s three-year-old has enjoyed a profitable summer, thumping Eeh Bah Gum by four lengths at Haydock in early July.
The handicapper hasn’t given him any peace since but Marnie James showed he could be competitive off his higher mark by running second of 15 at Goodwood before finishing third to Eeh Bah Gum at York last month. He missed an engagement earlier in the week to wait for this race.
D’BAI (2.25) hasn’t always looked straightforward but the Godolphin gelding ran a solid fifth in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood before finishing a close-up fourth at Deauville. This 7f trip is ideal but it could be on the short side for in-form rival Mustashry, narrowly denied by Lord Glitters over a mile at York following a 1m 2f victory at Sandown.
At Chester, BLAKENEY POINT (2.40) should get the favoured soft ground that has so far eluded him this season and can defy top weight in the 32Red-sponsored 1m 4f handicap. Roger Charlton’s gelding ran a fine fifth in the Ebor Handicap and the first-time blinkers worn that day are retained along with a tongue-tie.
The Unibet Handicap over 1m 6f could fall to useful hurdler PROJECT BLUEBOOK (2.05). John Quinn’s gelding, running in the JP McManus silks, ran a one-paced fourth to Master Archer over two miles here on his last start and has been dropped 2lb.
- Doncaster 3.35 – Kew Gardens (11-4, Skybet)
- Doncaster 1.50 – Marnie James ew (25-1, bet365)
- Doncaster 2.25 – D’Bai (5-1, William Hill)
- Chester 2.40 – Blakeney Point (3-1, Coral)
- Chester 2.05 – Project Bluebook (11-2, bet365)