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Saturday racing preview: St Leger Day


There's an incredible day of racing to look forward to on Saturday, co-headlined by the Doncaster St Leger and the Irish Champion Stakes. Here we preview all the big-race action...

13:50 Doncaster - Champagne Stakes

The Hannon team have a strong record in the race with four victories in the last 10 years, most recently with Threat last season and their Chindit heads the market alongside the Owen Burrows-trained Albasheer

Unbeaten in two runs, the form of Chindit’s victory at Ascot last time looks rock-solid with the second and fourth following up in Listed company and the third beaten just over a length in a French Group 3. Albasheer was a wide-margin winner on his only run to date over this course and distance and he clearly has a huge amount of ability, but those in behind that day have achieved very little since. 

Of the rest of the field, it'll be interesting to see how Mujbar acquits himself on this better ground and Aidan O’Brien clearly thinks a lot of St Mark’s Basilica. They all have a lot to find with Chindit on bare form though.

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Chindit
  2. Albasheer
  3. Saint Lawrence

15:35 Doncaster - St Leger

The final Classic of the season produced a shock in 2016 when Harbour Law triumphed but this year’s renewal again looks one that will sit with the market principals. Pyledriver is the current favourite at 4.1 and while the step up in trip is a question mark for the Voltigeur winner, based on his last run, it should be of little concern.

Aidan O’Brien saddles second-favourite Santiago, who left a good impression when winning the Queen’s Vase but that form hasn’t amounted to much and his Irish Derby win also looked a very poor running. On a line through Berkshire Rocco, Pyledriver holds him comfortably and he also might possibly be better suited with cut underfoot. 

Galileo Chrome steps up in class for Joseph O’Brien - a winner of three of his four starts, most recently in Listed company, he could spring a surprise but preference is for Hukum. The form of his King George V win has been well advertised with Subjectivist back in third that day, and he put a good field to the sword in the Geoffrey Freer while giving the impression that there was a lot more to come. Vitally, the trip poses no issues and if there’s a potential superstar in the field then it’s probably him. 

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Hukum
  2. Pyledriver
  3. Galileo Chrome

16:10 Leopardstown - Irish Champion Stakes

Just six go to post for this Group 1 showpiece but it remains a fascinating contest. Ghaiyyath, understandably, is 1.6 following his three-length defeat of Magical in the Juddmonte International last time. Charlie Appleby’s runner has carried all before him this season and he’ll need to underperform significantly on Saturday to not add a further victory to his tally. 

The chief threat is likely to come from Magical once again, in receipt of 3lb, and while there’s no reason to see why she would reverse the placings from York, the fact that she’s so consistent at the highest level means she’s the likeliest to take advantage of any chink in the favourite’s armour. 

Arc third Sottsass presents a new challenge to Ghaiyyath but even his win in the Ganay earlier this season would leave him with lots to find and there has to be concern over his inability to win a Group 3 last time. 

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Ghaiyyath
  2. Magical
  3. Japan

*Odds correct at time of publication

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