Magical form looks strong enough to land Champion prize
Between the All-Ireland final, the Premier League, English and Irish St Legers and Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh, sports fans have a feast to look forward to over the next couple of days and, by extension, there's a lot of interesting betting markets to get stuck in to.
It's hard to know where to start so I'll kick off with what will be my biggest bet of the weekend, Logician, in the William Hill St Leger Stakes at Doncaster (3.35) which I'll admit is not very original at odds of even-money.
With four wins in as many races, it's impossible not to be impressed with the son of Frankel which has Group success to his name following an impressive win in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last time from Constantinople. On that piece of form, we can expect him to improve even more over today's longer distance.
He's still a bit raw and perhaps he's vulnerable to more experienced horses but it's plain to see he has some serious talent and if there's any jockey that knows how to handle such a horse, it's Frankie Dettori. The expected good-to-firm ground will suit him down to the ground and this looks like a straightforward penalty kick.
It goes without saying that Aidan O'Brien's horses are highly respected here and Sir Dragonet looks the best of the rest. Fifth in the Epsom Derby, I'd be slightly concerned that his two wins from his four races came on soft ground and his backers at 4/9 were burned badly when he could only manage fourth of seven to Buckhurst in the Group Three Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh last time.
Having said that, he's one of those O'Brien horses that can easily bounce back from a flop and jockey Donnacha O'Brien said this week that the Camelot colt is "absolutely flying" at home. Il Paradiso and Sir Ron Priestley are also in with a shout if the market leaders fail to fire, but it's definitely Logician's race to lose.
Back home, Madhmoon is seeking his first Group One success and a price of 6/1 looks about right for the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown (4.15). Second to Anthony Van Dyck in the Epsom Derby, he flopped in the Irish equivalent but he has excuses and his latest success in a Group Three here last time was a nice confidence-booster.
Still, if given the choice I prefer to go with one who's been there and done that and Aidan O'Brien's Magical ticks the right boxes for me under Ryan Moore. A two-time Group One winner including the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May, she's finished runner-up in her three latest races, all Group Ones. But two of those losses were at the hands of Enable so there's certainly no disgrace in that, and if running to form she should take all the beating.
We don't see Japanese-trained horses racing in Ireland so Deirdre is a very interesting entry for Mitsuru Hashida. It's a little tricky to get a handle on how good her Japanese form really is but she's got a few Group victories under the belt and closer to home, she caused a bit of a stir when winning the Group One Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last time by from Mehdaayih at 20/1.
From what we know, she's still got a bit to find with the favourite but nonetheless it would be no surprise to see her go well in a race which has gone overseas since So You Think last won it for Aidan O'Brien in 2011.
Roger Charlton's Headman has won a couple of Group Twos and could go close although his trainer reckons he'll be a better horse next year, while Mark Johnston's Elarqam is worth a mention having been supplemented for this race following a good third in the International Stakes at York last time.
Getting back to Doncaster, Threat can justify his price of even-money by winning the Group Two Pommery Champagne Stakes (3.0) for Richard Hannon under Pat Dobbs.
Runner-up twice in Group Two company, he finally got off the mark at that level winning the Gimcrack Stakes at York last time, and I actually think he's a Group One horse in the making.
Do the double
Things have not been great for Man Utd lately with just one win in four games this season, and I reckon they’re short at even-money to beat a Leicester side which have clocked up two wins and two draws. Leicester sit in third at the moment and while beating the Red Devils at Old Trafford is always a tough ask for any team, they are certainly capable of getting the draw which looks a bit of value around 5/2.
A winner of the Prix Rothschild, Karl Burke’s Laurens is the one to beat in this evening’s Group One Fillies’ Matron Stakes at Leopardstown (5.25) at 6/4. Burke has had this race in mind for the 2018 winner for some time, and he feels she’s come back as a bigger and stronger animal this season. A nose-second under a penalty to Shine So Bright at York last time, she can go one better back over the mile distance on a track that plays to her strengths.
The Charlie Hills-trained sprinter A Momentofmadness won the Portland Handicap at Doncaster (1.50) last year off a mark of 99, and he’s surely got a great chance of placing at the very least around 12/1 today, now rated 4lbs lower. The six-year-old went off the boil after that race and couldn’t really cut it in handicaps when rated above 100, but appears to be coming back to form based on a good sixth place of 22 to Dakota Gold at York last time off 95 at a big price. Expected to go off around 6/1, Bielsa is the danger horse. He’s unbeaten in his three races to date including his handicap debut off 87 at Thirsk last time and I suspect he’ll be thereabouts, despite going up 6lbs.
1.50 Doncaster: A Momentofmadness (each-way)
3.0 Doncaster: Threat
3.35 Doncaster: Logician
4.15 Leopardstown: Magical
5.25 Leopardstown: Laurens