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2017 May Hill Stakes tips – Karl Burke’s filly to claim Group Two crown at Doncaster

Rich Legacy (near, left, gold cap) winning last year's renewal of the May Hill Stakes (credit: Getty Images)

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Group Two on the second day of Doncaster’s St Leger Festival and provides readers with his expert tips.


Seven exciting juvenile fillies will take to the turf in the first Grouped contest of this year’s St Leger Festival, the May Hill Stakes. Several of the sport’s most successful fillies have claimed this prize during their two-year-old campaign, including Height Of Fashion, Teggiano and Playful Act.

Despite 13 different trainers etching their names into the May Hill Stakes roll of honour since the turn of the millennium, Mark Johnston is yet to get his hands on this lucrative prize. He trains current market leader Nyaleti (3/1 William Hill), who has impressed on several occasions during her debut campaign.

After pushing two highly-rated Ballydoyle residents, September and Clemmie close at Royal Ascot and the July Festival respectively, Johnston’s charge claimed a well-deserved Group Three victory in the Princess Margaret Stakes by destroying a decent field by almost five lengths. A maiden venture to France finished in a sixth place finish, but that was a Group One, so she has to be a contender dropping back in class.

The second of three Group Three winners in Thursday field is Billesdon Brook (5/1 bet365), who displayed a startling late turn of foot to claim back-to-back victories at Goodwood. The second of those victories came during their Glorious summer Festival, when she beat some handy rivals to the Prestige Stakes. Richard Hannon’s filly has progressed smoothly throughout the season and could come on again on her first attempt at a mile.

After a sluggish start cost her dearly in the Listed Empress Fillies Stakes, Tajanuus (5/1 Paddy Power) returned to winning ways by beating Capomento and Billesdon Brook in the Listed Star Stakes at Sandown. Dane O’Neill deputised for Jim Crowley on Tajanuus’ last appearance at Newmarket and the duo claimed a surprise victory in the Sweet Solera Stakes. Crowley will return to this Godolphin fillies’ saddle on Thursday and she will be more comfortable than most of the soft Doncaster turf.

Laurens (5/1 bet365) claimed a victory here at Doncaster on her debut back in July, beating Exhort to the post by half-a-length. The runner up gave Laurens’ victory a big boost by winning both her subsequent starts, leaving Karl Burke’s youngster as a 74/10 shot when making her French debut last month. She and P.J. McDonald managed to finish second to favourite Polydream in the Group Three Prix du Calvados and the way style in which she has ended both her appearances suggest she would take well to this extended trip.


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Tajaanus (centre, blue) reels in Billesdon Brook (left) to win the Listed Star Stakes.

Aidan O’Brien’s Sizzling (8/1 William Hill) caught the eye when finishing third behind Happily on debut. Since then, she has gone to post as the firm favourite to win four maidens, but only managed to translate that support into victory on her most recent attempt at Tipperary. She clearly has talent, but she’s yet to test herself in a pattern race.

The same can be said for Dark Rose Angel (10/1 William Hill), who is yet to venture above Class Four company. After an underwhelming debut, Simon Crisford’s filly claimed a four length course-and-distance win on good ground last month. She may be the only entrant to have triumphed over a mile, but there are several in this field who appeal a lot more.

Miss Bar Beach (20/1 Paddy Power) produced a career best performance to finish third as Billesdon Brook won the Prestige Stakes, but it’s highly unlikely she can build on that in this kind of company. She Believes (20/1 bet365) is also likely to struggle on her pattern race debut, despite three successive victories on the handicap circuit.

Nyaleti sits head a shoulders above her rivals in terms of rating. Yet, Mark Johnston’s decision to drop her back to six furlongs after Royal Ascot suggests he thinks she possesses more pace than stamina and it’s not worth taking a chance on her over a mile, especially at her current price.

Billesdon Brook has looked superb on her two recent victorious outings, but she has ground to make up on Tajanuus from their clash in the Listed Star Stakes. Whilst both represent excellent value, the unexposed LAURENS makes the strongest case for selection in this year’s May Hill Stakes.

There was plenty to like about her debut victory and that winning course form will stand her in excellent. Polydream proved far too good for her rivals at Deauville, but despite her inexperience compared to many of her other rivals, Laurens looked mightily impressive when finishing well ahead of Capomento and Spring Cosmos.

The last three May Hill Stakes winners have all travelled to Doncaster after two or three seasonal appearances and all featured in a pattern race on their previous outing. Laurens fits the bill perfectly when looking for a winner of this excellent race and she could get the St Leger Festival off to a flying start for her locally-based trainer.

14/9/2016 2:25pm Doncaster May Hill Stakes selection – LAURENS (5/1 bet365)


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2017 May Hill Stakes tips – Karl Burke’s filly to claim Group Two crown at Doncaster

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Group Two on the second day of Doncaster’s St Leger Festival and provides readers with his expert tips.,,

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