3.55 Doncaster: Group 1 St. Leger, 1m6½f
New London is the right favourite. I’ve followed his season with joy, given he was one of my 5 To Follow for the season as well. He’s gone from strengths to strengths and will have a good chance to win this Classic.
This isn’t a vintage renewal and New London has got the strongest form in the book, plus has beaten some of todays rivals already – therefore it’s easy to see why he is clear at the top of the betting.
It’s hard to argue that his Gordon Stakes victory is a key piece of form that makes him the one to beat today.
Yet, I have some reservations over the combination of trip and ground. New London has got a fair chance to stay, though stamina isn’t a certainty over the Leger trip.
More so, his best performances came on fast ground. While It won’t be bottomless today, there is going to be significant give in ground, nonetheless. The price suggests there are zero worries about either parameter. I have concerns and with that in mind have to oppose him at this short price.
My clear number two on the shortlist is Hoo Ya Mal. A surprise runner-up in the Derby, he was subsequently third behind New London in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
On the surface he was fair and square beaten that day. Nonetheless, in my view he is much more closly matched with the favourite than the final result of that race and the price difference in the betting today suggest.
In the Gordon Stakes Hoo Ya Mal seriously caught my eye, in fact. He improved in fine style from five furlongs out; he made rapid progress in the home straight and hit the front two furlongs from home. Ultimately, he paid the price in the closing stages for this huge but inefficient effort.
Plenty has been made of Hoo Ya Mal’s subsequent and most recent victory in the March Stakes. It was a workmanlike performance, rather than a fleshy effort against inferior rivals workmanlike style. But he showed enough to enhance his reputation in my book: he produced a solid change of gear and proved his stamina.
It was a lovely Leger prep, I feel.. Everything points to a big run today. The trip will suit. The ground is unlikely to pose an issue. Different ground conditions and the additional distance could easily see Hoo Ya Mal turn the table with New London.
He’s also closely matched on topspeed with the Godolphin horse: 107 for Hoo Ya Mal’s Derby run; 108 for new London’s victory at Goodwood.
I struggle to make a serious case for other horses in the race. The “hype horse” Haskoy has to prove her class significantly up in class. Eldar Eldarov could improve back over this sort of trip. But I don’t rate him a better chance than Hoo Ya Mal.
Emily Dickinson looks a huge price, and has a solid each-way chance I feel. She stays the trip, has the pedigree and clearly talent; with ease in the ground she may find a bit of improvement, and that would make her dangerous.
10pts win – Hoo Ya Mal @ 8.6
1.15 Curragh: Premier Handicap, 6f
Top-weight Power Under must carry a huge weight in this race. The jury is out whether he’s truly as good as his current 110 Official Rating. However, with soft ground sure to suit, I believe in these type of conditions there’s every chance he is that good, and perhaps a few pound better, in fact.
It has to be, if he should go close today. In saying that, if that turns out to be a correct assessment he’ll be a huge runner in this Premier Handicap.
The 4-year-old caught my eye when last seen over this course and distance. He finished third that day but fared best of those up with the pace. The form looks strong, with the winner holding his own in Group races subsequently, and the runner-up winning a Handicap off a big weight.
One can discount his penultimate run in Group 2 class when he welt, but he was strong in the finish landing a Cork Listed sprint. he seems to do well off breaks, so not having run since June isn’t a concern.
Power Under Me has yet to run to a noteworthy topspeed rating. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt though. Today he’s got a super chance: a group horse in a Handicap….
10pts win – Power Under Me @ 10/1
2.25 Curragh: Group 1 Flying Five, 5f
As intriguing as this contest is, especially with Highfield Princess and her wonderful success story this season, the market overestimates her chances today, I feel.
She may well struggle after all her recent exertions on the deep ground likely encountered up the Curragh straight. She handles the going, no doubt, but I firmly believe the rain does suit A Case Of You much more.
Especially over the minimum trip, as A Case Of You holds the strongest piece of form in these conditions – his Longchamp victory from last October in heavy going, awarded a 114 topspeed rating, gives him an outstanding chance if he can be in the same form today.
He was an excellent runner-up in the Flying Five 12 months ago, before landing the Prix de l’Abbaye in dramatic fashion. He proved that wasn’t a fluke when winning the Al Quoz sprint at Meydan earlier this year.
Since then two lesser performances raise a few question marks. But with conditions sure to suit today, a fresh A Case Of You should be hard to beat.
10pts win – A Case Of You @ 8.4