The St Leger festival gets underway at the Doncaster Racecourse on Thursday with an 8-race card that starts at 1:15 on Town Moor. Our team has looked through the card and found 3 bets to start the week, including a strong fancy in the feature race, the Park Hill Stakes at 3:35.
This is a very competitive Nursery handicap, and a case could be made for most of the field, but if there is a Filly in here who has been given a lenient mark by the handicapper, it looks most likely to be Summit. William Haggas won this race in 2016 with Glitter Girl, who was also owned by Cheveley Park, and this race looks to have been a target for Summit for some time. She made a pleasing debut at Haydock in July and followed that effort with another solid run when she chased home Wild Goddess in a Newmarket maiden 2-weeks later. Although she was turned over at a short price on her latest start at Carlisle, she was very keen on the way to post, despite going down early and those exertions clearly wasted too much energy as she couldn’t sustain her effort up the hill. If we forgive that run, she looks to be very well treated on an opening mark of 76 based on the level of form that she showed at Haydock and Newmarket. Connections have reached for the cheek-pieces to help her settle and in this bigger field, it should be easier for Tom Marquand to get some cover for her. If he can get her to settle, she should be more than capable of taking advantage of her handicap mark.
Ollie Sangster has made a superb start to his training career, with 10 winners from 46-runners so far this season at a 22% strike rate. He has booked William Buick to ride his filly Romanova in this year’s May Hill Stakes and she makes a lot of appeal. Her connections decided to pitch her into Listed company on her debut at Sandown in July and although that proved to be a step too far, she learnt a huge amount on debut and made no mistake when she was a winning favourite in her 2nd start in a Novice race at Salisbury last month. She made all the running that day and pulled 7-lengths clear in the closing stages, recording a top speed figure of 91 in the process. Whilst she may have competition for the lead here, she looks to be a relatively relaxed Filly and it shouldn’t matter if William Buick needs to take a lead instead. The form of the Salisbury race is open to question, but both the time and the dominating performance that she produced would suggest she is worth her place in this field.
As the market would suggest this is a wide open renewal of this race. Night Sparkle has won her last 3 but this is a significant rise in class for Andrew Baldings Filly and she may find this a step too far. Whilst we must respect any horse that Aiden O’Brien runs, the feeling is that Boogie Woogie has had enough chances by this stage and although the soft ground could be an excuse for her poor performance at Cork, she didn’t shape like a winner in waiting. The Filly who makes most appeal is Ching Shih. David Simcock’s Filly looks likely to improve for this step up in trip, as she did when chasing home Arrest in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury last time. Her dam was a strong stayer and although she is wrong at the weights with several of the 3-year-olds, she is lightly raced, and it is unlikely that she has yet reached her peak. If she matches the form that she showed behind Arrest last time, she looks a solid each-way bet.