Triple Champion Hurdle winning jockey Steve Smith Eccles previews the action.
Zacinto is the red hot 11/8 favourite for the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster but there are good reasons to oppose him and I feel he could be one to take on at that price. All the rage on his Sandown debut he duly obliged by no less than eight lengths but the form is very moderate to put it politely and this is a massive leap in class on very different ground that could catch him out. With some decent form among the opposition here and two unbeaten rivals in the well regarded War Native and Playfellow he may not have things his own way today and at that sort of price I would rather lay than play
At 3.10 we have the final classic of the season when up to fourteen horses go to post for the St Leger over a mile and three quarters and it is a very competitive race and not one where I would want to bet. If push came to shove I suppose I would side with Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire who has had a break since his Curragh success and been freshened up with this race in mind. The soft ground is ideal and he looks as if the extra two furlongs will not be a problem but it is certainly a race to sit back and savour, preferably without financial involvement.
African Rose is the favourite for the re-arranged Sprint Cup and the French raider looks to have an excellent chance to take this very competitive sprint after her performance at Deauville last time out when runner up to Europe’s leading sprinter Marchant D’Or, with the pair well clear of the rest of a high class field. The slightly shorter trip here is ideal as she was in front after six furlongs before being picked off and with the soft ground in her favour and receiving weight all round she should prove hard to beat.
The Michael Jarvis trained Meshtri runs in Doncaster's 4:15 and today is payback day after we lost a few quid on this fellow last time out. Made favourite at Kempton on his all weather debut he was knocked from pillar to post in a very rough looking race and jockey Philip Robinson showed all his experience when refusing to allow him to get any more involved than necessary to avoid further damage. Prior to that he had run a decent race when runner up on his handicap bow at Haydock over a mile and six where he did not quite get home but dropped back to a mile and a half today and with David Probert taking five pounds off his back to race off seven stone twelve, he will think he has been let loose here.
From the top stable of Sir Michael Stoute and the mount of Louis-Philippe Beuzelin (who is very good value for his five pound claim) Decameron holds excellent chance in today's 4:25 at Great Leighs. His last run, which was on very heavy ground at Haydock needs to be ignored, but he had previously finished a good second to Always A Rock at Newmarket over a mile on his handicap debut and as he has been working well on the polytrack gallops he should have no trouble handling the surface here. Reported to be in rude health at home there is every chance he will be bounced out of the stalls to take the race by the scruff of the neck and I expect him to make all for a comfortable success.
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