The final Classic of the UK horse racing season is just a few days away but before we get there we have the opening day of the St Leger meeting to navigate at Doncaster on Thursday with the festival beginning with an eight-race card.
There are plenty of decent races on the card throughout the day but having had a good look through the runners and riders we believe the best bets come very much early in the offering. We’ve picked out two for Thursday.
The first race of the St Leger meeting is a 6 furlong apprentice handicap & it has an incredible open look to it. There’s plenty of pace on here so I’d like one that will get the trip & be finishing with a late rattle. I’m taking a little bit of a risk but fancy the chances of ALPHA CAPTURE. His form this year has been nothing to write home about but a mark that has dropped by 23lbs gives hope & I’m sure it will click into place soon enough. His best run of the year was when 7th in much better company on good soft ground from 8lbs higher and whilst that isn’t enough to convince, I think his 2 year old form gives plenty of hope. He won at York on good to soft ground in the Listed Rockingham Stakes which earned him a mark of 103. The fact the 2nd races off 100 and the 3rd is off 94 suggests that a mark of 77 for the selection is workable. Arguably even more impressive was his 2nd in the Weatherby’s here, again on soft ground. The 1st, 3rd and 4th are currently rated 111, 109 and 108. Whilst it’s a leap of faith, he is trained by one of the best in the business, William Haggas, and the fact he’s put a 7lb claimer on top in an apprentice race is very interesting to me. He would rout this opposition if back to near his best and at the odds, I’m prepared to bet that today’s the day he puts his best foot forward.
Back Alpha Capture (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.00 Bet365 BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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This looks a very winnable fillies nursery where quite a few have question marks over the predicted soft ground. Favourite Chic Colombine has yet to encounter a soft surface but she should be ok based on breeding but the one I like is GRANNY BUDGIE who has already won on soft ground. She’s won 3 of 4 career starts, the last 2 on soft ground in handicap company. Her mark has risen in that time but she’s improved from run to run and the way she came clear last time up at Hamilton suggests there’s more to come. She galloped all the way to the line and that would suggest to me that she’ll enjoy this intermediate trip. One other big positive is the superb form her stable has been in. From George Scott’s last 10 runners, he’s had 4 winners and 5 seconds, with the other finishing 3rd. The selection is the yard’s only runner of the day & I’m hopeful she will add to the excellent yard form here.
Back Granny Budgie (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 8.00 Bet365 BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)