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2019 St Leger Festival day four tips: Best bets for Classic Saturday at Doncaster

Dashing Willoughby (credit:Frank Sorge via www.imago-images.de/Imago/PA Images)

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the four ITV races on day four at Doncaster and provides readers with his tips.

The fourth and final day of this fantastic meeting his headlined by the oldest Classic in the sport, as eight talented three-year-old enter the stalls ahead of the historic St Leger. Before we reach that Classic, there are two pattern races to take in, along with the fascinating Portland Handicap.

Our expert has taken a closer look at each of the four ITV races on St Leger day at Doncaster and provided readers with his betting suggestions.

2019 St Leger Festival Day Four Tips

2:05pm Doncaster William Hill Portland Handicap (Class 2) 6f


The history of this thrilling handicap tells us that any of the 22 entrants is capable of winning, with horses carrying long odds coming out victorious on a number of occasions. A low draw seems to be a negative too, as all of the last five winners were drawn in stall ten or wider. 

12 months ago, William Buick guided A MOMENTOFMADNESS to victory in this handicap. Charlie Hills’ experienced sprinter hasn’t claimed another win since, but did mange to run well in a classy contest last time out and the champion looks to have a strong chance of defending his crown.

A Momentofmadness carried odds of 22/1 into the Symphony Group Handicap at York’s Ebor Festival and ran a cracking race, crossing the line just a length behind Dakota Gold in sixth after cutting out most of the running. Hills’ sprinter returns to Doncaster rated four pounds lower than the mark he carried to victory in 2018 and looks to be drawn nicely in stall 13.
There’s plenty of scope for a couple of bets in this wide-open handicap and the second name that sticks out to me is EMBOUR. Richard Hannon’s colt isn’t drawn as kindly as A Momentofmadness, but he’s been in excellent form of late and looks well handicapped with just 9-00 on his back.

Pat Dobbs’ mount bounced back from a limp performance in the Stewards’ Cup with a fine run at Goodwood, where he came within a nose of defeating Green Power. Saturday’s favourite, Justanotherbottle then got the better of the well-backed Embour at Sandown, but he was only beaten a length after running into traffic at a crucial stage and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hannon’s sprinter challenge for the victory here.

Bet One – A MOMENTOFMADNESS each-way (12/1 William Hill)
Bet Two – EMBOUR each-way (18/1 Mr Green)

2:25pm Doncaster Hird Rail Group Park Stakes (Group 2) 7f


Sir Dancealot is one of the best exponents of seven furlongs on the circuit and David Elsworth’s dual-Lennox Stakes winner has to be respected. That being said, he couldn’t lay a glove on SHINE SO BRIGHT when they met at York and I see no reason why he, or second-favourite Turjomaan, will be good enough to deny the favourite.

Spurred along by Laurens, Shine So Bright travelled beautifully at the head of the field in the City Of York Stakes. Just when it seemed the favourite was going to grind down her younger rival, Andrew Balding’s colt found a little extra and managed to repel Laurens to claim a first Grouped victory.

The two clocked an excellent time that day and good-to-firm ground at Doncaster thrusts the ball even further into Shine So Bright’s court. Even under a three-pound penalty, he should be too strong for his rivals here.

Only Bet – SHINE SO BRIGHT (11/8 Ladbrokes)

3:00pm Pommery Champagne Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) 7f


Threat made up for near misses at Ascot and Goodwood in fine style at York, powering clear of his rivals in the closing stages to win the Gimcrack. Richard Hannon’s charge didn’t seem to have a particularly hard race that day and he deserves to head the betting.

Yet, the fact he carries a three-pound penalty over an unfamiliar trip could make things difficult for the favourite and I’d prefer to take him on with JUAN ELCANO.

Kevin Ryan has treated his youngster with kid-gloves this season, blooding him on just two occasions. Following a narrow maiden victory on heavy ground at Haydock, Juan Elcano caught the eye as he made stylish progress in the Superlative Stakes, eventually losing out to Mystery Power by just a length.

Juan Elcano was a little keen throughout that race and had to recover his stride a furlong from home, after losing his rhythm when push came to stuff. I’m sure Ryan will have been getting plenty of work into this big stamp of a colt during his time off the track and this looks an ideal opportunity to secure a maiden pattern-race victory.

Only Bet – JUAN ELCANO (4/1 Mr Green)

3:45pm William Hill St Leger Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) 1m6½f


Logician heads the betting for what looks a disappointingly weak St Leger and, despite his short odds, I’d prefer to side with the Great Voltigeur winner over either of Aidan O’Brien’s contenders. There’s clearly more improvement to come from this talented, unexposed young horse and John Gosden is confident this extended trip will play to his colt’s strengths.

While I think Logician will be very difficult to beat, I can’t help but feel DASHING WILLOUGHBY has been severely overlooked in the current betting and, with three paid places still available, he offers stacks of each-way value sitting on a price of 16/1.

Oisin Murphy was so confident Dashing Willoughby would see out 14 furlongs, he sat just behind the pace for the entirety of the Queen's Vase. Murphy's mount wandered a little to his left as he engaged in a furious battle with Nayef Road and Barbados. Yet, he was strong enough when it mattered to see off all his rivals and claim a half-length victory.

Andrew Balding's colt may not have been able to beat some very classy older rivals, but the experience he gained at Newmarket and Goodwood will stand him in excellent stead as he drops back into his own age group in the Leger.

Returning to the trip he won over at Ascot will be a boost and his form stacks up with most of the leading contenders at Doncaster. To see Dashing Willoughby languishing down the bottom end of the betting is an opportunity I don't want to pass up.

Main Bet – DASHIING WILLOUGHBY e/w (16/1 William Hill)
Next Best – LOGICIAN (Evens Mr Green)


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2019 St Leger Festival day four tips: Best bets for Classic Saturday at Doncaster

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the four ITV races on day four at Doncaster and provides readers with his tips for Saturday 14th September.

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