Doncaster’s Leger meeting kicks off on Wednesday with Camelot set to play the starring role in Saturday’s feature race. Before Aidan O’Brien’s unbeaten colt bids to become the first winner of the English Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970, there is a feast of top class racing to enjoy.
Wednesday’s feature race is the Scarborough Stakes which gives Irish raider Sole Power the chance to return to winning ways. He is dropping down in class after some fine efforts including his latest effort when only four lengths behind Ortensia in York’s Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes. He is partnered by Johnny Murtagh who recently lost his job with leading owner HH The Aga Khan and will be keen to maintain a high profile. Ladbrokes offer Sole Power at 15-8 in their early prices.
Murtagh is again on a leading fancy in Thursday’s Sceptre Stakes when he partners the smart filly Sentaril for Willie Haggas. The three-year-old looked very impressive when bolting up in her first two starts before being pitched in at Royal Ascot. She was far from disgraced in finishing a close third in the Jersey Stakes and can be forgiven her disappointing run at York over a shorter distance. Seven furlongs is her trip and she looks worth supporting here.
An interesting runner in Friday’s Mallard Handicap is Mark Johnston’s rapidly improving stayer Sir Graham Wade. The imposing grey was heavily backed at Haydock on Saturday but looked in trouble when Kieren Fallon found himself boxed in on the rail. He managed to extricate himself in time to launch a late challenge on the outside and land the prize in the shadow of the post. He was value for far more than his narrow winning margin and it would be no surprise if Johnston turns him out again quickly. Bet365 are longest at 11-4 in the early betting exchanges.
The climax of the week is the St Leger on Saturday when Aidan O’Brien will be attempting to write his own piece of history by saddling all five English classic winners this season. The bookmakers aren’t taking any chances in offering 1-3 about Camelot. John Gosden has won the last two Leger’s and has two live candidates in Thought Worthy and Michelangelo. The former looks the most likely threat after his all-the-way win in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York. Camelot’s rivals will be hoping to test his stamina to the full and Gosden will employ a pacemaker. For those looking for an each-way bet, they could do worse than take the 33-1 on offer with Ladbrokes for Godolphin’s Encke. The horse was not suited by the slow pace at York and could reverse placings on Town Moor.