Doncaster Festival Preview Day 4: Lah Ti Dar and Kew Gardens set for St Leger battle

English St Leger

On the fourth and final day of the Doncaster meeting, the track welcomes the oldest of Britain’s five Classics, the St Leger. Ran over one-mile, six furlongs and 115 yards, the Group 1 contest is open to both fillies and colts of three years of age. A field of twelve horses are set to go to post in what is set to be a thrilling racing spectacle.

John Gosden-trained Lah Ti Dar is the filly people will be eager to keep an eye on.  Until her confirmation to run in the St. Leger on Wednesday, racing fans were very curious as to the plan for the three-year-old.

The Lord Lloyd-Webber owned filly may have only raced three times but has won on every occasion. Connections of the daughter of Dubawi will be hoping that the filly will make it four consecutive wins and after her last impressive outing at York last month, she will be a very hard to beat. Although she has a slight step up in trip the filly is yet to be truly be given a challenge on the track.

Aidan O’Brien will be all systems go to record his sixth win in the St. Leger since 2001. His Grand Prix de Paris winner Kew Gardens is a vying for favouritism with Lah Ti Dar. The high-class son of Galileo finished third on his last outing in the competitive Group 2 Voltigeur Stakes at York last month on the back of two wins previous to this, at Longchamp Racecourse and Ascot.

William Buick takes the ride on Godolphin-owned Old Persian. Trained by Charlie Appleby, the son of Dubawi may not have the most consistent form but he is coming off the back of an impressive win at York making him a real contender. He won the Group 2 Voltigeur Stakes at York beating Kew Gardens and so may prove as worthy competition to Aidan O’Brien’s favourite.

The Newmarket-based trainer also runs Loxley who James Doyle will be riding.

Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee is another worthy contender, but he may just be slightly too unexposed to make any real difference and could struggle to stay. Silvestre De Sousa is set to be in the saddle and the connections of the son of Farhh will be hopeful for a continuation of his improving and consistent form.

The king of Ballydoyle is strongly represented with five runners going to post to include, Southern France who will be steered by Seamie Heffernan, Wayne Lordan takes the ride aboard The Pentagon, Michael Hussey is set to be partnered with Nelson, and 100/1 Zambriskie will be ridden by Jim Crowley.

Raymond Tusk, Maid Up and Proschema complete the line-up.

Selection: Kew Gardens

Holemswood (On The Left)

Portland Handicap 

The last day of racing kicks off at 1.50pm where the Portland Handicap goes to post. The five and a half furlongs is open to horses’ three-year-olds and over and hosts a full field of twenty-two runners. With a large field of runners and the going good, it can be sometimes difficult to read the betting market. However, there are certainly some stand out names.

Michael Dods’ Holmeswood is set to be steered by Brazilian jockey Silvestre De Sousa and is one to watch on the betting market. The four-year-old son of Mayson finished third in the hot Symphony Group Handicap at York last month and connections will be eager from further improvement following on from this.

Dods is double-handed for the handicap and runs Dakota Gold under Connor Beasley. The four-year-old has been consistent recently and performed well at Thirsk on his last outing where he was partnered again by Beasley and ran on strongly in the final furlong. Another strong contender and one sure to put on a spirited performance.

Tis Marvellous is set to be ridden by Ryan Moore. The son of Harbour Watch is certainly one to keep a close eye on in the betting market. His two best runs this year have come at Ascot with him winning the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Dash handicap with ease and connections will be hopeful he can return to this impressive form. This will be his first time returning to the Doncaster track since 2016.

Ian Jardine-trained Marnie James may be dissed as unexposed but the three-year-old is having a great season. Although he did not run on Wednesday due to a vet’s certificate he is now set to run in the competitive handicap and this very recent incident may be cause for concern. Prior to this, his form was good and he finished third in a strong apprentice handicap last month.

Selection: Marnie James

D’bai (Farside)

Park Stakes 

The Group 2 Park Stakes is the second race on the Doncaster card and is set to be televised at 2.25pm on ITV Racing. With just nine runners going to post, it is set to be an interesting and strong competition which will be run over seven furlongs.

Sir Michael Stoute’s stable star Mustashry is the favourite and rightly so with an impressive form. The five-year-old is dropping to this trip for the first time but has a big chance at claiming the title in this Group 2 contest. Set to be partnered by Jim Crowley, it will be interesting to watch the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned gelding stride out to make his mark on the results after his last outing where he finished second at York.

Charlie Appleby-trained D’bai will be making all the running to challenge the favourite. The Godolphin-owned four-year-old has previously peaked at this distance and so connections will be confident of a repeat of this. His last win was in a Group 3 at Haydock last June and has not raced at the seven furlongs distance since.

David Simcock runs Breton Rock in the Group 2 contest and partners the eight-year-old with David Probert. The son of Bahamian Bounty has recent consistent form and as one of the older horses in the race, his experience may just do him the justice he needs to return to the winner’s enclosure.

Others to keep an eye on include: Charles Hill’s Dutch Connection, David Barron-trained Above The Rest and Karl Burke’s Unfortunately who is set to be ridden by Italian jockey Frankie Dettori.

Selection: D’bai

Dark Vision

Champagne Stakes

The Group 2 Champagne Stakes is set to be another cracking display of Group racing and hosts a field of six runners. It may be questioned will it be a one-horse race as John Gosden’s Too Darn Hot is the clear favourite, but horse racing is an unpredictable sport! This Group 2 contest is open to horses who are two years of age and is run over seven furlongs.

Too Darn Hot is set to be ridden by Frankie Dettori. The son of Dubawi has only run twice on the track to date but has set a high standard for himself as he won on both occasions. His last outing was at the start of the month at Sandown, where he won a Group 3 and stormed home with ease. Certainly will be the one to beat and a name to watch for the future.

Mark Johnson’s Dark Vision is another strong runner, has slightly more experience on the track and the Godolphin-owned colt has a very impressive form to date. This will be the son of Dream Ahead’s second time running in Group company and connections will be hoping he can repeat his last outing where he won the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last July.

Other names to keep an eye on are James Doyle’s mount Phoenix Of Spain who is trained by Charles Hills who has won on his last two outings, the latter being in Group 3 company at York and Doncaster will be the son of Lope De Vega’s first time racing in a Group 2 contest.

Selection: Dark Vision


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