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2019 St Leger Festival day three tips – Selections in the televised races on Friday at Doncaster

Jonathan Vine 11 Sep 2019
Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee lock horns again in the Lonsdale Cup.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the four ITV races on day three at Doncaster and provides readers with his tips for Friday 13th September.

The red carpet will be rolled out for Stradivarius on Friday afternoon, as John Gosden’s all-conquering stayer draws star billing on day three of Doncaster’s St Leger meeting. Around Stradivarius’ appearance in the Lonsdale Cup, there are a couple of other pattern races to take in, including an intriguing showdown in the Flying Childers Stakes.

Our expert has taken a look through the betting for each of the four televised races on day three of the St Leger Festival and provided readers with his betting selections.

2019 St Leger Festival Day Three Tips

2:10pm Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (Group 3) 7f


Pretty Baby got little luck in running at Glorious Goodwood and should be a big player. As could Angel’s Hideaway, despite two extremely poor performances since that eye-catching third behind Space Blues in the Jersey Stakes. The runner I want to side with most, however, is DI FEDE and at 13/2, she could be one of the best bets of the day.

After ending her three-year-old campaign with a solid victory in the Listed October Stakes, Ralph Beckett’s filly has failed to secure another win. Di Fede has been competitive on all her appearances though, barring a dismal effort on her reappearance at Chester. Harry Bentley’s mount finished fifth in the Duke Of Cambridge at Ascot, second and third in Listed races over a mile, and fourth on her most recent run at Goodwood.

Di Fede found herself boxed in on the rail at a crucial moment in a very high-quality renewal of the Supreme Stakes and failed to recover, crossing the line fourth as Suedois and Momkin fought out the finish. Still, Bentley’s filly managed to finish ahead of quality rivals like Limato and Breton Rock, so her trainer can regard that as an excellent effort and she could be the classiest runner in this race.

Main Bet – DI FEDE (13/2 William Hill)
Next Best – ANGEL’S HIDEAWAY e/w (9/1 Coral)

2:40pm William Hill Mallard Handicap (Class 2) 1m6f


Charles Kingsley looks your typical Mark Johnston stayer and has to be respected, despite only running in a gruelling handicap on heavy ground at Haydock six days ago. Even if he has fully recovered, I still think he’d have to go a long way to deny SAROOG, who is impossible to oppose at the head of the betting.

Simon Crisford’s gelding is unbeaten over a mile-and-three-quarters, with all four of those victories coming on good-to-firm ground. Since winning on his handicap debut at Sandown rated 85, Saroog has risen rapidly through the ratings and a comfortable victory at Newmarket earlier this month meant Crisford’s four-year-old had now reached a career-high mark of 101.

Saroog easily saw off Themaxwecan at Newmarket, despite giving his younger rival nine pounds at the weights. The runner-up came into that race on the back of a good win over Saroog’s Doncaster rival, The Sleeping Lion and has gone on to scoop a sizeable pot in a two-mile handicap at Goodwood. Saroog’s progression is showing no signs of slowing down and I’d be hugely surprised if his unbeaten record over 14 furlongs was ruined on Friday.

Only bet – SAROOG (11/8 William Hill)

3:10pm Magners Rose Doncaster Cup Stakes (Group 2) (British Champions Series) 2m2f


It will be wonderful to see Stradivarius strut his stuff again at Doncaster on Friday. I’ve taken on John Gosden’s top stayer relentlessly over the last year or so, but even I have to admit now, Stradivarius is simply peerless over this distance.

From a punting point of view, this really is a no-bet race. You can’t back Stradivarius at 1/2 and, with only two paid places available and nothing of Group One quality lurking at double-figure prices, there’s no scope for an each-way wager either.

If you forced me into placing a bet, I’d probably shove it on Dee Ex Bee to cause an upset. Yet, even with the favourite carrying a five-pound penalty, the chances of Stradivarius getting turned over look optimistic at best. Let's just sit back and admire the best stayer of his generation.

3:45pm Wainwright Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2) 5f


A’Ali has been running in France since defeating his rivals in the Norfolk Stakes. Simon Crisford’s juvenile powered home from off the pace to win the Prix Robert Papin. James Doyle then struggled to find some much-needed cover, after a tricky draw, in a high-quality renewal of the Prix Morny and A’Ali faded out of contention at the furlong pole.

I don’t think there’s any doubting that, of the top two, A’Ali has the most class. Yet, dropping back to five furlongs seems a strange move and this is, by some way, the fastest ground Frankie Dettori’s mount has ever encountered. ALLIGATOR ALLEY, on the other hand, has won on both of his appearances on fast going and I fancy Joseph O’Brien’s raider could cause a minor upset.

Alligator Alley was my each-way selection in the Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, having watching O’Brien’s colt saunter to an effortless five-length triumph on his final outing on home soil. Donnacha O’Brien found a wall of rivals between himself and leader, Liberty Beach at Goodwood. By the time he had jostled through a gap and asked his mount to track down the winner, the highest they were able to finish was second.

On the back of that, Alligator Alley went to post as the short-priced favourite for the Listed Julia Graves Stakes at York. Donnacha and his mount were stone-dead last after being hampered coming out of the stalls, but the young jockey didn’t panic, working his way back into the race and swerving around fading leader, Dr Simpson to secure a very taking victory.

Given a clean break and a problem-free passage through the race, Alligator Alley would have won that Listed contest by much further than he eventually did and the way he battled back after a sticky start was the sign of a maturing sprinter. I fancy he may have A’Ali’s number on Friday.

Main Bet – ALLIGATOR ALLEY (9/4 William Hill)
Next Best – A’ALI (11/8 Coral)

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2019 St Leger Festival day three tips – Selections in the televised races on Friday at Doncaster

Our expert takes a look through the betting for the four ITV races on day three at Doncaster and provides readers with his tips for Friday 13th September.

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