Views from connections and tips ahead of Doncaster on Saturday

Too Darn Hot is away and clear at Sandown
Too Darn Hot is away and clear at Sandown

We round up the views from connections and Man On The Spot verdicts ahead of Saturday's feature action from Doncaster.


3.00 Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes

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Views from connections

Frankie Dettori - Too Darn Hot: "You've got the brother and sister running half an hour apart in two Group races. He's very exciting. It's nice that I'm able to ride him on a Flat track as that is the only time you get to feel a horse going through the gears. Sandown is a very steep track and more of a grinding, galloping track. I'm curious to see how he goes. It's a very select field that will test him, but I'm very excited."

Charlie Johnston - Dark Vision: "When we left Goodwood, our natural reaction was the next start would be in the National (Stakes). The horse was already a Group Two winner and that's the obvious progression, to go up to Group One level on his next start, but you have to take these factors into account.

"Sheikh Mohammed doesn't want these two horses running against each other and that's perfectly understandable. The horse did his final piece of work this (Monday) morning, he's never one to blow you away at home, he's a very laid-back individual, but he seems in good order.

"Giving away a penalty to Too Darn Hot will be difficult, we're well aware of that, but this horse is unbeaten and we still haven't got to the bottom of him."

Charlie Hills - Phoenix Of Spain: "He's been really good since York, his work has been nice. Doncaster should suit him, as it's a nice level track. It looks like it's going to be a hell of a race, but it's the right stepping stone for him and the obvious race to run him in. You have to take on the best to be the best. It should be a good race."

Man On The Spot verdict:

6
5
29-0OR: 116D
4/11
Last RunWatch last race

Godolphin paid a lot of money for the imposing Dark Vision after the Johnston colt produced a remarkable performance to extend his unbeaten record in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. Behind early, he came from last to first to win going away and is a smart juvenile. But he may need to improve again to give 3lb to TOO DARN HOT, who followed up a wide-margin debut win at Sandown with another impressive performance in the Solario Stakes when beating a Listed winner by four lengths. Phoenix Of Spain won the Acomb at York over this trip and is improving but Van Beethoven is penalised for his victory in the Railway Stakes at the Curragh in June and looks to have little chance of reversing Goodwood running with Dark Vision. Bye Bye Hong Kong easily won a Windsor maiden last month but the runner-up was beaten in a nursery here on Thursday.


3.35 William Hill St Leger Stakes

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Views from connections

John Gosden - Lah Ti Dar: "Frankie (Dettori) was adamant she should she should run in the St Leger when he got off her at York and often the feel a jockey gets when they immediately get off a horse is the one to listen to. He said he could have kept going another three furlongs and she certainly stays well.

"We ummed and aahed about running her in the Yorkshire Oaks (instead of the Galtres Stakes), but thought 'she's been off a long time and been sick, so don't throw her in a Group One'. Instead of having a hard race, she had a lovely extended hand-ride gallop. I had no doubt about her level of fitness (at York), but when they've been sick like that, you worry."

Reflecting on the problem that kept Lah Ti Dar out of action, Gosden - who is bidding for a fifth St Leger victory - added ahead of the latest leg of the QIPCO British Champions Series: "It was a strange sort of viral thing. Nothing else in the place had it - her bloods were all wrong and she was very down in herself.

"She wasn't right one afternoon - she had a temperature and we stopped. To that extent you are always terrified about doing some damage to a horse if you go and work them and then they are not right the next day, but luckily she had all the rest and all the time (she needed).

"We missed the Oaks and then we tried to come back, but obviously didn't make the Ribblesdale. She missed a long, hot summer and so she's a fresh filly for the autumn with plenty of ability."

Aidan O'Brien - Kew Gardens, Nelson, Southern France, The Pentagon, Zabriskie: "I suppose Kew Gardens would be the one (best chance). He is the horse that has already won a Group One and we've always loved him. He had one disappointing run and that was in the Derby and he disappointed us at Lingfield a little bit when he got beat, so maybe he is a horse that likes a level track.

"We rode him forward a little bit in the Derby and taking our time with him maybe suited him better as well. We took our time at Ascot and he was very good and we've taken our time with him every other day since. He is a very relaxed horse with a good mind, which always helps.

"The Pentagon had a break after the Derby and he was just ready to step up when we ran him at York (fifth in Great Voltigeur). He should come on for that and the better the ground, the more it will suit him. Southern France is a lovely, big horse - he's a giant. He's going to be an even better four-year-old. Nelson will handle ease in the ground and stays very well. He gets the trip really well and he seems to be in really good form."

Charlie Appleby - Old Persian and Loxley: "He really stepped up at Ascot when winning the King Edward. He had a progressive profile coming into the race and he's a typical Dubawi in that you never quite know when you're going to get to the bottom of them.

"We weren't disappointed with his run in the Irish Derby, it was just one of those races where we knew we were backing up quick enough and the race didn't pan out as we expected.

"But we got back on track in the Great Voltigeur. I thought it was a very game performance and therefore he's justified his place in the St Leger and he's certainly a live contender. He's got all the right attributes."

Charlie Johnston - Dee Ex Bee: "We've given him a bit of a break as he has gone a bit lethargic in his last two races. He has not travelled with his usual fluency. We are hoping the slightly slower ground will help him travel better through the first half of the race.

"People underestimate horses that are deemed exposed. Lah Ti Dar might have a sexy profile, but our horse has achieved a lot more. He has been beaten nine times and is not three out of three like Lah Ti Dar. It is easy to crab horses like him, but he has been second in a Derby, which is the best piece of form on show. If the trip helps him and it re-ignites the horse that we saw finish second at Epsom, then he has got a good chance."

Man On The Spot verdict

11
10
38-12OR: 115
7/4
Last RunWatch last race

Godolphin have won this final classic of the season on six occasions and Ballydoyle is just one behind. Both operations are well represented again this year, particularly the latter who has five runners. Kew Gardens beat stablemate Southern France in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and then won the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp. He was conceding 2lb to Old Persian when beaten in York’s Great Voltigeur last time and his stable was also going through a quiet spell so Ryan Moore’s mount could come out best of those who ran in that important Leger trial with stamina not an issue. As well as Old Persian, Godolphin also run Loxley who has only been beaten once in four starts this year but that was on the only occasion he raced beyond 1m4f. Dee Ex Bee was second in the Epsom Derby but only third behind Kew Gardens at Longchamp and hasn’t managed a win this season. The fillies get 3lb from the colts and the few that have run in this have a decent record. Maid Up has been supplemented after winning the March Stakes at Goodwood and could run well at a price but the superbly-bred LAH TI DAR looked ready for a step up to the highest level when turning the Galtres Stakes at York into a procession. Connections are confident she’ll stay the extra here and she’ll enjoy any give in the ground.


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