Friday 13 September is day three of the 2019 St Leger Festival at Doncaster, which is known as the William Hill St Leger Festival – Gentleman’s Day. The card features the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes, the Group 2 Doncaster Cup, and the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes.
Sceptre Stakes 2019 Analysis
14:10 at Doncaster on 13th Sept
This Group 3 race for fillies and mares takes place over 7 furlongs and 6 yards. 14 runners are set to go to post this year and it’s noticeable that nine of the last 10 winners have been drawn between stall 3 and stall 10, with six winners drawn between stalls 4 and 7.
Eight of the last 10 winners were also 3-year-olds. This race has also thrown-up its fair share of shocks in the last decade, with six winners returned at odds of 8/1 or higher, including winners at 11/1, 14/1, 22/1, and 25/1.
Roger Varian has won two of the last four editions of the Sceptre Stakes and he saddles the ante-post favourite Farzeen who has won her last two in impressive style. However, his winners of the race have been returned at 14/1 and 25/1, suggesting it could be worth chancing Mot Juste with Doncaster specialist jockey Andrea Atzeni on board. Mot Juste drops in class and looks potentially nicely drawn in stall four.
Doncaster Cup 2019 Analysis
15:10 at Doncaster on 13th Sept
This Group 2 race for stayers is run over 2 miles 1 furlong and 197 yards and is open to horses aged three and older.
It’s been a great race for horses at the front of the market in recent years, with all the last 10 winners returned at odds of 5/1 or lower. That alone suggests that Max Dynamite, Sneaky Getaway, Barsanti, and Cleonte have it all to do as they’re priced-up at 16/1+. More significantly, they’re rated 13lb+ lower than the top-rated horse.
That horse is Stradivarius and the John Gosden trained 5-year-old has been carrying all before him in the stayers’ division in the last two seasons and he’s looking to make it 10 straight victories.
Those looking for a chink in the champion’s armour will say he was only third on his previous visit to Doncaster, but that was in the 2017 St Leger and on ground softer than he prefers. He also must concede Dee Ex Bee 5lb this time, but that horse could only finish fourth in the 2018 St Leger.
Stradivarius has beaten De Ex Bee on all three occasions they’ve met this season and, though he must concede him 2lb more than he did at York last time, the good-to-firm ground is very much in his favour and Stradivarius is fancied to extend his winning run.
Flying Childers Stakes 2019 Analysis
15:45 at Doncaster on 13th Sept
This Group 2 race is run over 5 furlongs and 3 yards and is restricted to 2-year-olds. Nine of the last 10 winners have had at least four runs, but only one of the last eight came here having won their previous race. There has only been one shock winner in the last decade, with the other nine all returned at 5/1 or less.
Frankie Dettori has been the jockey to follow with three wins in the last 10 years and it looks significant that he’s back on board A’Ali after the likely favourite got outstayed over 6-furlongs in France last time under James Doyle. A’Ali is expected to prove too quick for his rivals dropped back to 5-furlongs.