Wade into the Mallard
Man On The Spot previews the third day of the Ladbrokes St Leger meeting from Doncaster.
- Related Content
13.15 Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes
Ceiling Kitty beat last month's York winner Hoyam by a length when completing a hat-trick in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and has the beating of Fire Eyes on the form book. But that means she has to meet the colts here off level terms and she'll have to improve again to get the better of SIR PRANCEALOT.
A winner over this trip in the National Stakes at Sandown at the end of May, Richard Hannon's charge has since finished close up in two Group 2 races over 6f and was only a length-and-a-half behind top-rated juvenile Reckless Abandon in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville last month. He should get back on track here.
Bungle Inthejungle beat Morawij by a head in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood but then finished tailed off in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh while the runner-up was last when favourite for the Gimcrack at York next time.
13.50 Ladbrokes Mallard Stakes
Last year's Northumberland Plate winner Tominator came right back to his best when pipping Communicator on the line at Chester and the grey is still a couple of pounds lower than when a close-up fourth to Old Hundred in this race 12 months ago.
The real eye-catcher from that contest is Nanton, however, as Jim Goldie's veteran was only beaten a head by the winner yet is an incredible 15lb better off now and 13lb better off with Tominator. To be fair, he's has only managed one place since from 11 starts but a recent fifth at York suggests he is no back number and he could well reward each-way support.
But anyone who witnessed SIR GRAHAM WADE's remarkable victory at Haydock last Saturday won't want to oppose Mark Johnston's three-year-old here, despite the penalty. Hemmed in and behind 2f out, he was hampered again approaching the final furlong but quickened very smartly once a gap appeared and collared Tropical Beat on the line despite Kieran Fallon dropping his whip.
There may well be more to come. Number Theory seems best at Haydock while Blue Bajan may not be the force of old but the lightly-raced Caravan Rolls On has won five of his last six starts and shouldn't be underestimated and No Heretic and Hanoverian Baron come here off the back of respective wins at Bath and Epsom.
14.20 Stobart Doncaster Cup
Saddler's Rock had Askar Tau behind when beaten less than a length by COLOUR VISION in the Ascot Gold Cup and beat Marcus Tregoning's stayer by a length in the Goodwood Cup subsequently, when the Godolphin horse was only third under a penalty.
The latter has to concede weight to his rivals again here but this step back up in distance is very much in his favour and, undoubtedly the class act, he's fancied to come out on top today as Saddler's Rock ran a shocker at York last month when Times Up, who'd finished well beaten at Goodwood, got the better of High Jinx.
Last year's St Leger hero Masked Marvel has been a huge disappointment this season and again dropped away tamely behind Mount Athos at Newbury last time. He's now tried in blinkers but they'll have to spark major improvement.
Hurricane Higgins won over 2m5f at Goodwood last month so will be running on when others have cried enough and makes more appeal than fellow out-and-out stayers Aaim To Prosper and Never Can Tell but the three-year-old Repeater appears to have plenty to find, despite the allowances.
14.55 Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes
CERTIFY can complete a quick double for the boys in blue as she looked a smart performer in the making when beating Sky Lantern and today's rival Reyaadah in the Sweet Solera at Newmarket and will almost certainly improve further over the extra furlong.
On a line through Sky Lantern, however, there's not much between the selection and the unbeaten Ollie Olga who edged out the Hannon filly in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood last time. Purr Along won a Group 3 at Deauville last month but was earlier only third behind Roz in a Listed contest at Sandown when Go Angelica was fourth.
The latter has won at Salisbury since while Light Up My Life appreciated the step up to 7f when landing a Newmarket nursery but, along with Lizzie Tudor, Masarah and Italian import Tuttipaesi, appears to have a bit to find in this grade.
15.30 Rossington Hall Conditions Stakes
Ashdan landed a Newmarket maiden on his debut last month and runner-up has won twice since. He looks a likely improver and has to go on the short-lists here along with One Word More, a winner at Ayr in July and second in a Listed race at Deauville on his latest start. Ninjago had every chance at Newbury last time, however, while Georgian Bay's debut victory came on the Polytrack and Top Notch Tonto is thoroughly exposed.
NO JET LAG has only won minor contests at Lingfield and Redcar but was particularly impressive on the latter occasion and looks well worth a try in this higher grade. He could be the value as trainer David Lanigan isn't one to tilt at windmills with his juveniles.
16.05 Willie McKay Sports Management Handicap
A hood is tried on Sir Reginald and he could be interesting if recapturing the form he showed when fourth in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket in July off a 4lb higher mark. Mac's Power goes well here and can reverse Ascot running in July with Shropshire on 5lb better terms while Highland Colori has already won four times this year and was far from disgraced over slightly further here last month, though is high enough in the weights now.
Ladies Are Forever and Haamaat would have a chance on their best form but the three-year-olds Duke Of Firenze and GALICIAN are more interesting at today's weights. The former ran the smart Fulbright to a nose at Newmarket on his latest start but may need a faster surface to show his best whereas all going seems to come alike to Mark Johnston's filly. She didn't stay a mile at Chester last time but this interim trip should be right up her street and she can come out on top today.
16.35 Frank Whittle Partnership Classified Stakes
After winning her maiden at Newmarket in May, PINK DAMSEL was thrown in at the deep end in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot. Not surprisingly, she finished well beaten but the fact that Roger Varian thought she was good enough to take her chance suggests she's be a major factor in this grade and the shorter trip may well suit.
She gets the nod though Keene Dancer will be a danger if bouncing back from a below-par run at Goodwood as she'd won twice earlier at Windsor, though those races were over a mile. The maiden Sir Quintin is the only other three-year-old in the line-up while, of the older horses, Dick Doughtywylie has disappointed in the spring and return from a break while Maven came unstuck when upped in grade at York last time. The weights suggests Cool Macavity and Ramona Chase could reach the frame, however, if back to their best.