The St Leger Festival 2020 at Doncaster, the final Classic of a tough season for horse racing, takes place this week and a top-class four days’ racing action will unfold at Town Moor from Wednesday afternoon.
There will be plenty of high-class horses turning out at the Yorkshire track in a bid to land a big prize for connections, with some making final preparations before tackling bigger targets later in the campaign at home and abroad.
Armchair punters can catch the best of the Doncaster action throughout the week as the ITV Racing cameras will be on hand to broadcast some top-class stuff into punters’ living rooms, including the big race of the week, the St Leger Stakes. Here are five horses to watch out for in the St Leger Festival 2020, who will be strutting their stuff on Town Moor.
St Leger Festival 2020 – 5 to watch
Mubtasimah – Bet365 Septre Fillies’ Stakes (Wednesday)
Expect a big run from William Haggas’ Mubtasimah who didn’t appear to enjoy the all-weather at Chelmsford when last seen. The Dark Angel filly may be better suited by this return to turf.
A four-time winner on grass, including on her seasonal debut in each of the last two seasons she struck at Newbury in June with a defeat of Miss Celestial to take the Maggie Dickson Fillies’ Stakes and, although she was behind the same rival in her last start, she didn’t help her cause by missing the break.
Given some more time off the track, she returns from a two month break, which won’t be an inconvenience given her record when fresh and back on a grass surface. She is expected to go well in the forecast conditions.
Logician – Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Conditions Stakes (Thursday)
He’ll be absolutely no price to have an interest in betting-wise and he faces only two rivals on his return but all eyes on Thursday will be on the unbeaten Logician who makes his long-awaited return from a career-threatening illness.
The latest in a line of top-class performers from the John Gosden camp, the Frankel colt could be the one to take over the mantle from Enable as the yard’s next superstar and he crowned an impressive season last term by taking the St Leger on this card twelve months ago.
That was his fifth successive win as he enhanced his 100% record and he’s found a good opportunity to make it six wins from six when he turns out on Town Moor on Thursday. His two rivals are very decent but he should prove a class apart, even allowing for this being his first run in just under a year if fully over his ailments.
Clearly not a race to get involved in but one to take in with a view to the future, he could yet make the line-up for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe alongside his superstar stablemate Enable if posting a convincing success at the St Leger Festival 2020.
Steel Bull – Bombardier Flying Childers Stakes (Friday)
Steel Bull impressively made it two wins from two starts when taking the step up in class in his stride to strike at Glorious Goodwood in July, beating Ben Macdui and others to take the Molecomb Stakes. Michael O’Callaghan’s charge might be worth giving another chance having disappointed when last seen.
That run came at the Curragh in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes where the Clodovil colt could only finish seventh behind a couple of these rivals, including The Lir Jet. However, he had excuses that day as he hit his head in the stalls, breaking two teeth and there’s a suspicion he might just have found his stamina stretched by the extra furlong.
Both his wins have come over this minimum distance so he could well bounce back when returned to five furlongs for this assignment. If he can avoid any further mishaps with the stalls then it wouldn’t be a shock to see him do so, given he had looked a smart prospect previously.
Limato – Bet365 Park Stakes (Saturday)
He’s an eight-year old now but the classy Limato showed that he has retained all his ability when making a winning return at Newmarket back in June and Henry Candy’s charge could post a big run as he attempts to follow up.
The Tagula gelding has been a largely consistent performer at this level and he’s a dual Group One winner, although perhaps isn’t quite at the top level now. That said, he can usually be relied upon to give his running at this grade and he should continue to give a good account.
Last seen beating Happy Power by an easy three lengths in the Criterion Stakes, he has proved in his career that he can go well fresh and he’s been given plenty of time to recover from those exertions. He perhaps lacks the speed now to be effective as a sprinter but he’s been given a new lease of life back over seven furlongs and he won this race back in 2015.
While he’s not getting any younger he should continue in good heart and ought to make his presence felt with a big performance.
Pyledriver – Pertemps St Leger Stakes (Saturday)
A fairytale rags-to-riches story could culminate in a Classic win for Pyledriver who has captured the imagination of the racing public with his performances this year.
Trainer Willie Muir has just 26 horses in his yard and veteran jockey Martin Dwyer will get the leg up on the Harbour Watch colt as the pair bid for a third win of the campaign at the St Leger Festival 2020, having struck at Royal Ascot and York respectively in Group Two company.
That is quite the feat given he was unsold as a foal at just £10,000 – pocket money in comparison to the sums paid for his rivals – but he has proved that money doesn’t always talk when it comes to ability and he looks to have a great chance if seeing out the longer trip.
Connections have refuted big money bids for their star with seven figure sums having been bandied about to take him to Australia or Hong Kong. However, the owners have stayed resilient and will be eyeing Classic glory when the apple of their eye turns out at Doncaster on Saturday.
Jockey Martin Dwyer is no stranger to Classic success having won both the Oaks and Derby in his career – Sir Percy in 2006 – was his last and Pyledriver was devastating when winning the Great Voltigeur Stakes on his last racecourse start; while trainer Willie Muir has yet to land a Group One success in 29 years in the game.
That could all change on Saturday at the St Leger Festival 2020 with their bargain buy.
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