Simon Holt provides his best bets for Doncaster on Saturday, with Aidan O'Brien taken to land another St Leger.
Recommended bets: Doncaster, Saturday
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Class and stamina are two vital prerequisites for any St Leger winner and KEW GARDENS can fit the bill in Saturday’s William Hill sponsored final Classic of the season at Doncaster.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien (five previous winners) and ridden by Ryan Moore, who combined to win last year with Capri, the son of Galileo has progressed while many other Ballydoyle inmates have been out of form.
Having won the Queen's Vase (1m6f) back in June (from stable companions Southern France and Nelson), Kew Gardens looks sure to stay and he gets a 2lb pull at the weights here with his Great Voltigeur Stakes conqueror Old Persian, whose stamina is unproven.
In between, the selection ran out a ready winner of the Grand Prix De Paris at Longchamp (Dee Ex Bee third, Nelson fifth) and, while that may not have been a vintage Group One, Moore said afterwards that the horse "does everything right."
Others with apparently copper-bottomed stamina are the much improved Maid Up and Raymond Tusk, who could both be in the shake-up if making further improvement.
However, the warm favourite Lah Ti Dar and the Godolphin pair Old Persian and Loxley are probably more classy.
Lah Ti Dar, beautifully bred out of the top class Dar Re Mi (best wins at a mile and a half) who has also produced So Mi Dar and Champagne Stakes favourite (3.00) Too Darn Hot, has won her three races by an aggregate of close to twenty lengths.
Returning from a break in the Galtres Stakes at York three weeks ago, she was ridden right out to slam Light Of Joy by ten.
Lah Ti Dar’s previous two wins were achieved in similar fashion but against below Classic-class opposition, and Light Of Joy is rated just 95.
However, she is clearly a very good filly, receives the invaluable sex allowance and must surely go close here (even if it may not be an ideal distance) if she is to have a leading chance in next month's Prix De l'Arc De Triomphe.
Perhaps Lah Ti Dar's class will see her through, and it is heartening to see her connections take this bold step and support the Leger when Sunday’s Prix Vermeille (1m4f) could have been there for her taking.
As already mentioned, Old Persian is up in trip after battling on well at York (The Pentagon fifth, Nelson sixth, Zabriskie eighth). He is a bit under-estimated in the betting even though this will be his toughest test and the O’Brien team are bound to turn the screw from some way out.
Loxley, impressive in his last two starts at Deauville (1m2f and 1m4f), was outstayed by Wells Farrh Go previously in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket (1m5f). However, he’s very likeable.
Another horse I have warmed to is MUSTASHRY who can prove too classy for the opposition in the Alan Wood Plumbing and Heating Park Stakes in which he is dropped back to seven furlongs by trainer Sir Michael Stoute.
It’s always a good angle when horses with proven class (speed) race over shorter though a change of tactics might be needed as there is a shortage of early pace in this field.
However, a repeat of Mustashry’s recent half length second to the smart Lord Glitters at York can prove good enough to repel the gutsy Oh This Is Us and 2016 winner Breton Rock.