St Leger Festival Day One: Betting and tips

AP McCoy will ride at Doncaster today.
AP McCoy will ride at Doncaster today.

The first day of Doncaster’s four-day St Leger meeting kicks-off with a bumper seven-race card and Kevin Ryan’s Ferryover (2.00) is fancied to get punters off to a dream start in the opening 7f Nursery.

The selection won a competitive maiden at Ayr in the spring and returned from a short break to finish an excellent second behind well-backed favourite Tasleet in an expensive sales race last time out at York’s Ebor meeting.

The colt was doing his best weight at the finish and should relish the extra furlong. He bids to concede weight all round but looks the quintessential group horse in a handicap and is a confident selection to score under in-form jockey Jamie Spencer.

Champion Trainer Richard Hannon is double-handed with Madrinho and Storm Rising in the 6f Conditions Stakes and whilst both are respected they are opposed with Elronaq (2.30) under Paul Hanagan. Charlie Hills’ well-bred colt has progressed well throughout the campaign, winning his maiden before stepping-up in grade thereafter and chasing home subsequent G1 Prix Morny winner Shalaa in both the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. He boasts the strongest form in the race and can make full use of the drop in grade to claim a second career success.

Michael Dods’ G1 Nunthorpe Stakes winner Mecca’s Angel won the corresponding Scarborough Stakes last term and many northern trainers will be fancying their chances of emulating the northern speedsters and using this afternoon’s Listed contest as a springboard to potential Gp 1 success thereafter. Jeremy Gask’s Medicean Man ran a career-best when second behind Goldream in the Kings’ Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and should appreciate the likely lightning-fast pace set by trailblazers Field of Vision and Steps. As should Cotai Glory (3.00) who gets the nod to land a quick-fire double for trainer Charlie Hills. The colt returns to scene of his infamous crime last term when unseating George Baker in the Flying Childers at the corresponding meeting last term and after running creditably in higher grade can gain redemption and atone for his sins with Baker once again in the plate.

The Leger Legends is a charity race in name only with a host of former Champion Jockeys returning to the saddle and AP McCoy back riding again for one day only. McCoy partners Gannicus for good friend Brendan Powell with the gelding boasting strong claims after a brace of handicap successes at Brighton earlier in the campaign however preference lay with Ian Williams’ Commisar (3.35) under Johnny Murtagh. The selection won a competitive handicap at Goodwood earlier in the summer and has been placed subsequently over a mile and a quarter at both Ripon and Redcar. With plenty of pace in the race it could be set up for the finishers and with stamina in an abundance the 6-y-o is fancied to go from last-to-first under the incomparable Murtagh.

Mister Brightside is sure to be fancied for the 7f Handicap with Frankie Dettori an eye-catching booking for Jeremy Noseda in the plate but a 6lb rise for landing a five-runner handicap last time out at Newmarket looks fair and he is instead overlooked with Akeed Champion (4.10) for double-seeking Jamie Spencer. Richard Fahey’s well-bred colt has similarly been put up by the handicapper for winning a Newmarket handicap last time out but he did so despite greenness and with further improvement to come is a confident selection to complete the hat-trick this afternoon.

Brian Meehan’s Newton’s Law is a fascinating runner in the sprint handicap after missing an engagements in the week and warrants respecting bidding to concede weight all round. He may prove vulnerable to those near the foot of weights however and Keith Dalgleish’s Salvatore Fury (4.45) can hopefully reward each-way support under Barry McHugh. The selection put in a seasonal-best when proving effective with a first-time visor last time out at Carlisle and having previously tumbled down the weights can go one better from a 3lb higher mark.