DAQMAN’S 100-POINT LEGER DREAM DAY: Daqman, who has had a winner a day at Doncaster (yesterday was Lyric Of Light WON 9-1) bids for a 100 points profit from two races there today, with a banker and his best outsider at 15.5.
2.05 Doncaster (Champagne Stakes): Frankie Dettori goes for a hat-trick in this after two Godolphin successes but riding for Peter Chapple-Hyam is a completely different deck of cards.
Frankie’s mount, Al Khan, is in and out like his stable: a course winner, but well behind Entifaadha at York with cut in the ground, which he’s likely to encounter today.
Entifaadha also has his plus and minus side: he’s not very big and not one for next season so, which is a good thing, they’ll want to get what they can out of him now.
Red Duke is the Group winner, and is entered in the Dewhurst, but the colt he beat at Newmarket in July, Chandlery, turned him over in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
How much that was down to a less-than-brilliant ride by one, K Fallon, we will know only today. Daddy Longlegs also has it to prove, as an unruly sort so far whose debut win has been devalued by defeats for the second and third.
2.35 Doncaster (Portland Handicap): Five-year-olds are going for a five-timer but older horses used to win the Portland, and four-year-olds have scored only twice in the last decade.
Bajan Tryst was narrowly beaten last year under Ryan Moore and another top jock, the said Mr Fallon, is booked today but trainer Kevin Ryan may have blown it with a good Listed run recently which has put ‘Bajan’ up 3lb higher. That’s another length to find.
David Marnane came over from Ireland and won with a five-year-old two years back, bringing Colm O’Donoghue over for the ride. Today he is glad to call on Joseph O’Brien – so smooth on Reply on Thursday – and gets 3lb off into the bargain.
Their runner, the South African Group-3 colt Nocturnal Affair, showed he has acclimatized to Northern Hemisphere racing with a good run at Cork in August.
He was second that day to a horse subsequently third to Amour Propre in the Group-3 Flying Five at The Curragh, so we seem to be talking a proper racehorse.
Zero Money and York Glory are both going for hat-tricks and Swiss Dream is two out of three, with David Elsworth having one of his best seasons in recent years.
It will be a surprise if the firm-ground winner Zero Money can continue up the ladder at aged five (up a stone since July) when there’s give in the ground; and the placed horses in York Glory’s recent York success had won only one maiden between them.
Swiss Dream is a different proposition, winner of a Listed on good-to-soft at Newmarket last time, with Olivier Peslier booked today.
Three-year-olds don’t often run in this – beaten favourite 2009 and Deacon Blues third last year – and haven’t won it for 11 years. But Swiss Dream could change all that. Dungannon will also like the ground.
I will take Swiss Dream (a huge 15.5), Nocturnal Affair (14.0) and Dungannon (12.0), and lay the favourites, York Glory and Zero Money.
3.10 Doncaster (St Leger, see ABC Guide Tuesday’s column): This is a cracking contest, at last a stayers’ Classic to write home about, and I think it contains two very good animals – Blue Bunting and Sea Moon – one of them a great horse.
As runner-up in the Dante, the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris, Seville set up a 120 rating, clear of the rest of the Great Voltigeur field at York last month.
But he was made to look like a hack as Sea Moon swept more than 10 lengths past him to get a derisory official rating of 121. They just daren’t hike him higher.
But, if the form is as read, then Sea Moon would rate 130 through Seville (third) and 124 through Genius Beast (fourth), so ought to be on around 127. It’s not the fault of handicapper Al Kazeem (second) that he got into the sandwich.
They’ve all got carried away with So You Think (127) and Frankel (135) but great horses often come together. The Champion the Press craves is here among us several times over this year and they’ve run out of dreams and superlatives.
In any other year, Blue Bunting would also be feted: she would normally be a street behind the colts off only 118 but her three Group-1 wins have shown the champion mix of stamina, courage and a turn of foot that keeps taking her further forward.
It would be a huge achievement for Blue Bunting to win a Guineas and St Leger, last done by Oh So Sharp in 1985; she would just miss out on the fillies’ triple Crown, having won the Irish Oaks not the Epsom version.
In any other year, Masked Marvel or Census – separated a head in the Bahrain Trophy – would be good enough to win the Leger. But I believe Sea Moon, unfortunate to come good too late for the Derby, is yet another ‘champion’ this year, and will give Sir Michael Stoute his first Group 1 of the season (I can’t believe I’m writing that).
LAY to win 10pts each YORK GLORY and ZERO MONEY, and WIN-40 JACKPOTS: BET 3.6pts win DUNGANNON, 3pts win NOCTURNAL AFFAIR and 2.9pts win SWISS DREAM (2.35 Doncaster)
BANKER: BET 20pts win SEA MOON (3.10 Doncaster)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 1.7pts win OCEANWAY at 18.5 (5.40 Goodowood)
BET (to win 20 points): 4.6pts win WEAPON OF CHOICE (3.00 Chester)