Simon Holt feels Il Paradiso is underestimated in the William Hill St Leger on Saturday - the top commentator has a trio of fascinating selections.
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Padraig Beggy, Ballydoyle's 'silent assassin', can continue a remarkable record in the Classics by landing Saturday's William Hill St Leger aboard IL PARADISO at Doncaster.
Aidan O'Brien's 'work-rider' has had just 34 mounts in Ireland this season and his only winner was aboard Sovereign in the Irish Derby while he first sprung to unlikely fame when steering home Wings Of Eagles in the 2017 Derby at Epsom.
With stable number one Ryan Moore on duty at Leopardstown, Beggy gets the call up again and history suggests that the fact that Il Paradiso seems to be the stable's lesser fancied runner (with Donnacha O'Brien taking the mount on Sir Dragonet) should not rule out victory.
A few months ago, this son of Galileo hardly looked Classic material but he bolted up in a two-mile handicap at The Curragh in July and then appeared to take a major step forward in the Lonsdale Cup at York where he led two furlongs out and only succumbed to the high-class stayers Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee in the closing stages.
Some form students will regard that performance as a fluke, but it looked genuine enough to me given that they were racing from some way out and the big plus for Il Paradiso here is that he will stay every inch of the trip.
That cannot be said of stable-mate Sir Dragonet or the short-priced favourite Logician.
Sir Dragonet is hard to assess. This really impressive winner of the Chester Vase in May (Dashing Willoughby over eight lengths back in third), he started favourite for the Derby before taking fifth to Anthony Van Dyck in a bunch finish and then, after a break, was beaten at odds-on over a mile-and-a-quarter at The Curragh.
That last run may well have been needed, and a repeat of his Derby effort (despite the form looking very mixed), should see him run well even though his stamina is not a given being out of an Oasis Dream mare.
Staying power is also the big question surrounding the Great Voltigeur winner Logician who defends a four-race unbeaten record.
This likeable grey son of Frankel handled the step up in grade at York with little difficulty, though the O'Brien-trained runner-up Constantinople does not look the heartiest of battlers.
It could be that Frankie Dettori's mount will have the class to win but his dam was a miler and taking his short price with stamina doubts attached is not my idea of a value bet.
One suspects that the others will struggle, though Sir Ron Priestley has never stopped improving all season, took a Group Three at Goodwood last time and is also pretty certain to stay.
Earlier, the William Hill Portland Handicap provides its usual complicated challenge and a chance is taken with TERUNTUM STAR at a big price.
The seven-year-old, down to a mark of 92 compared to a peak of 104, makes his first appearance for trainer David Griffiths who has earned a valid reputation as a sprint specialist and a man who can freshen up older horses.
Griffiths has turned round the careers of Ornate and Duke Of Firenze and could just perform a similar trick with Teruntum Star who won a handicap at Beverley in April off 1lb higher and ran an excellent fourth to the smart Dream Of Dreams in a listed race over six furlongs at Doncaster in November, 2017.
His recent runs have been a bit under-whelming but the last two were on soft ground and, after a six-week break and a change of trainer, we may well see a different horse here.
Over at Chester, DURSTON is given another chance in the Sportpesa Stand Cup.
An impressive winner over the course and distance on soft ground earlier in the season, Jamie Spencer's mount was then narrowly beaten by Sir Ron Priestley at Goodwood and, upped in class next time at Newbury in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Sextant a remote fourth), travelled really well until appearing to run out of stamina over a testing mile-and-five furlongs.
Back at this trip, and with some cut in the ground likely, this really honest type can take advantage of his weight-for-age allowance from the Ebor seventh Ben Vrackie with Manuela De Vega, placed over further in her last two starts and second here to Medaayih in the Cheshire Oaks back in May, rated the biggest danger.
Posted at 1645 BST on 13/09/19