Sense of Purpose to strike for Irish raiders
Seven Irish raiders take their chance on day two of Doncaster's St Leger Festival this afternoon, with three among a final field of seven in the feature, the Park Hill Stakes.
Headed by Dermot Weld's Melbourne Cup entrant Sense Of Purpose, it is a strong delegation for the one-mile-six-furlong Group Two.
The John Murphy-trained Goldplated, successful in a fourth handicap in five starts at Leopardstown on Saturday, steps up in grade, while Spin completes the trio.
An easy winner of a Curragh maiden in 2010, Aidan O'Brien's filly took second behind Zanughan in a Listed race at Galway last time, so she needs to improve for this.
Set To Music, which had comprehensively outpointed Spin and two more of today's rivals -- Cracking Lass and Polly's Mark -- at York, leads the home defence.
Unbeaten in four, Jamie Spencer's partner is certainly progressive, but Sense Of Purpose may just be worth keeping on side for now.
The Galileo four-year-old has come on enormously this term, her only defeat in her last four starts coming when she had to concede 11lbs to Banimpire at Cork in June.
Twice a winner over today's trip, she made all when dropping back to 12 furlongs in a Group Three at Leopardstown a month ago.
On her return to a more suitable distance now, Sense Of Purpose may represent value at around 3/1 under Pat Smullen.
Of the Irish septet, there is none more intriguing than Alanza in the Sceptre Stakes. Seta, Jacqueline Quest and Chachamaidee set a tall standard in this Group Three.
The latter, second to Lolly For Dolly at Royal Ascot, was a smart winner at Goodwood at the end of July. She could take all the beating, but the unexposed Alanza might have the class to exploit the seven pounds that she receives here.
Placed when flashing home late on each of her first two outings over six furlongs this term, John Oxx's three-year-old benefited from the step up to a mile at Cork in July, and then added a second Listed race to her name over today's seven-furlong trip at Tipperary three weeks ago.
Johnny Murtagh's mount has always looked above average, so today could be the day that she further confirms that impression.
Of the two Ballydoyle representatives in the valuable juvenile sales race, the top-weight Reply is probably the pick over Boris Grigoriev, having run well in both the Phoenix and Gimcrack Stakes last month.
However, this 22-runner six-furlong dash won't be easily won under such a burden, so it can pay to look elsewhere.
Ladys First, off just 8st 1lb, could be the answer.
A winner at York on her debut, Richard Fahey's filly was unlucky not to follow up when struggling with the sharp turns around Chester subsequently.
Under a penalty, though, she kept finding, and only failed to catch the more experienced winner by a fast-diminishing head. She could well make amends now.