This truly is a huge weekend of action. There are Group 1’s in England, France and Ireland including the St Leger at Doncaster while the major trials for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe also take place in Paris.
Hurricane Lane should win the final classic of the season if he’s at his best over the trip although Mojo Star is a danger, while a small but select field take part in the Irish Champion Stakes in which it could be close in the conditions between Poetic Flare and St Mark’s Basilica with Tarnawa in there to add spice.
We go a different way for betting purposes though, beginning with top betting race the Portland Handicap on the St Leger card.
Saturday 11th September 2021
1.45 Doncaster (Portland Handicap) – BOUNDLESS POWER
This brilliantly competitive 5½-furlong sprint handicap may suit a younger, improving type and there are two of that ilk to concentrate on.
Roger Teal, who won this two years ago with Oxted, fields Whenthedealisdone who fits the profile really well, but the race may yet go the way of Boundless Power for the Mick Appleby yard instead.
Since being gelded and switching from Ireland to England, Boundless Power has done really well but hasn’t been asked for his very best effort yet I would feel. He was blocked repeatedly in his run last time at Windsor when finishing a close fourth and can now produce a career best at juicy odds.
There are also a number of consistent and classy sprinters to look out for in this field, not least Jawwaal, Mondammej and last year’s winner Stone Of Destiny who may be creeping back to a workable handicap mark.
2.10 Leopardstown (Boomerang Mile – Group 2) – FEV ROVER
Another great value bet if nothing else is Richard Fahey’s Fev Rover in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile on Leopardstown’s Irish Champion Stakes card.
Thunder Moon is solid, Maker Of Kings too while the admirable and classy MacSwiney will of course be a danger once again.
The latter-named really does appear to be ground dependent however, while Fev Rover has the form in the book to do some real damage at a big price.
The filly was a Listed and Group 2 winner last year before going off favourite for a Group 1. To back that up, she was a close third in the 1000 Guineas this season before apparently hating the heavy ground in two subsequent runs.
To put her form into context; she was a genuine 1¼-length third to Mother Earth in the Guineas who is a short-priced favourite for a Group 1 on this same card, making her price look a little silly for this race.
3.00 Doncaster (Park Stakes – Group 2) – LANEQASH
The Park Stakes is yet another strong Group 2 over seven furlongs – isn’t it about time in Britain we had at least one Group 1 over this trip for those who are no longer juveniles?
In any event, the race itself should be a belter. Glorious Journey is rock-solid yet again and rates as the main danger to the selection, while the pick’s fellow Shadwell-owned Danyah can also make the frame.
Laneqash however should prove to be the class act. I always thought from his juvenile days he was a Group 1 winner in the making, and expected him before a setback to be either a classic contender or one for the Commonwealth Cup.
Instead, he’s here at an intermediate distance. Over the same trip, he was an excellent staying-on second to Sacred in the Hungerford Stakes after ten months off and assuming the race has sharpened him up rather than bounced him back, he should be too good on this occasion.
5.10 Doncaster (Handicap) – IRISH ADMIRAL
In an unusually strong one-mile handicap to finish a card there are a number of horses to keep an eye on not just for today, but for the near future too.
Cruyff Turn is one, Dance Fever is another, but the two that stand out for me are Godolphin’s Royal Fleet and Sheikh Ahmed’s Irish Admiral.
Three-year-old Royal Fleet heads the market overnight. Charlie Appleby’s runner won his first three races before being turned over last time and is clearly heading in the right direction.
Off a mark of 100 he’s still potentially well handicapped, but he may find it hard to fend off Irish Admiral now they appear to have found the key to the ex-Irish trained runner.
William Haggas sent this four-year-old to York at the start of the season following a successful stable debut, but despite travelling easily the best in the field a couple from home his run faded out late on over the mile-and-a-quarter.
Learning all the time how to ride him and over which trip, he failed a number of times but was very good at Redcar last time and so despite a small rise in the weights another win is very much on the cards soon and hopefully in this race.
Sunday 12th September 2021
2.55 Curragh (Flying Five Stakes – Group 1) – WINTER POWER
By my reckoning the market may well have called this race right going into the weekend.
Dragon Symbol is a classy and tough young sprinter whose rating of 115 looks just about right, while ahead of him in the betting is last year’s winner and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champ Glass Slippers who can go well once again.
Topping the lot however is recent Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Winter Power and really there is no reason she should not be able to put her best foot forward one more time.
Having won three of her four races this season – or every time she’s run at York – some will say she is course dependent but that’s not true.
This flying filly has also won at Newmarket, Ayr and Redcar with the Curragh holding no fears for her. A repeat of her Nunthorpe and Westow Stakes performances in particular should see her home here for another Group 1 victory.
4.05 Curragh (National Stakes – Group 1) – NATIVE TRAIL
Point Lonsdale of Aidan O’Brien’s yard is not only a short-priced favourite for this race, but he also dominates the early markets for both the 2000 Guineas and the Derby next year and that’s not something to be taken lightly at all.
He’s very good, there’s little doubt about that, and if he wins again here that’s fair enough and he can be called a real juvenile star for sure.
That being said, this race looks sharper than ideal on paper for him and so the step forward many expect may not necessarily be forthcoming.
Native Trail on the other hand really needs this, with Charlie Appleby having done so well in this event with Quorto, Pinatubo and Master Of The Seas in the last three years.
The good looking Superlative Stakes winner is taken to improve enough to trouble the favourite here for Godolphin and true big-race jockey William Buick, with Ebro River no forlorn hope either for fellow raiders Hugo Palmer and James Doyle.