Blue bunting to show colts the way home
EARLIER this week, I was reading a book about the history of Dublin in which St Anne's Church, which is beside the Mansion House on Dawson Street, got a mention.
Dubliners will be familiar with the annual 'sit out' for charity in front of the church around Christmas time, but not all Dubs will be familiar with a certain chap that's buried there.
Indeed, I only found out myself that St Anne's Church is the final resting place of the soldier and MP, Major-General Anthony St Leger. So it's a bit of a coincidence that the race named after him takes place at Doncaster today (3.10).
St Leger was actually an Irishman from Kildare, so I guess it's somewhat appropriate that the Irish version of the race, The Irish Field St Leger, also takes place today in that county at The Curragh (3.50).
They are the final Classics of the season and, in the English version, Michael Stoute's Sea Moon heads the betting, priced around the 13/8 mark.
Last week, all four 'Betting Ring' horses returned a profit, so it would be great to keep the ball rolling, although I'm going to side with Mahmood Al Zarooni's Blue Bunting rather than the favourite as she seems like better value at 4/1.
It's unusual for a filly to take on the colts like this, but as Frankie Dettori said last week, she's "very tough" and connections are expecting a big race from this year's Irish Oaks winner.
Her victory in the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas was a bit of a shock, but she's proven herself at the top level a couple of times since.
I reckon she'll appreciate the extra couple of furlongs today and should give backers a proper run for their money.
Sea Moon ran away with the Great Voltigeur by eight lengths and looks the one to beat, but he's a little short in the betting for my liking.
For sure, that was a mighty impressive display, but there was a small bit of cut in the ground on that occasion which seems to suit the colt better.
That said, he's won on good before and definitely has strong claims, but you've got to go where the value is.
In the Irish version, Fame And Glory will be the short-priced favourite around 8/11, but, at 12/1, their could be some each-way value in Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux, despite only two places being up for grabs.
His fifth place in the Darley Prix Kergorlay at Deauville last time wasn't his finest moment.
But the good ground was unsuitable. So it may be worth forgiving that run as today's going is expected to be a bit softer.
Fame And Glory was a shock 1/3 loser to Fictional Account in the trial race last month and it will be interesting to see whether the odds-on backers will be a bit more cautious in parting with their money today.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the early layers go 14/1 about Ancient Cross for today's Ladbrokes Portland Handicap at Doncaster (2.35).
The seven-year-old seems to be improving with age and was storming home when sixth last time in an ultra-competitive handicap at York.
If this season's early form is anything to go by, he'll definitely be thereabouts when they hit the final half-furlong.
•Last week's each-way outsider, Swift Alhaarth, placed at 12/1.
2.05 Doncaster: Entifaadha
2.35 Doncaster: Ancient Cross (e/w)
3.10 Doncaster: Blue Bunting
3.50 Curragh: Red Cadeaux (e/w)