Ante post betting for the Ladbrokes St Leger has been fraught with difficulty, with a will they-won’t they approach adopted to many of the market leaders.
But with the big race nearly here at Doncaster punters have a slightly clearer picture for the world’s oldest Classic.
While it takes all the plaudits, it is by no means the only equine action on offer on Saturday, with five other contest set to be screened live on Channel 4.
With Ladbrokes’ free bet offer continuing in full swing (details here), getting a little help to find those winners can go a long way.
So here are five things you need to remember on the punting front this weekend…
Hannon a fast starter on Channel 4
It may not be a surprise to many but Richard Hannon is a man to go to on a Saturday, but it is much more specific than that.
The East Everleigh trainer has saddled a horse to finish in the first three in the opening contest on Channel 4 on three of the last four weekends.
He sends out Pawalan in the Champagne Stakes at 14:00 looking to follow up an authoritative success at Goodwood last time out. With a consistent profile and his handler’s record, he should go close again.
Fran is the man at Chester
Franny Norton has at least made the places on a very impressive 47.5 per cent of his rides at Chester this season, and is the go-to guy for rides around the idiosyncratic track.
The former is on a long losing run of 26 outings and teams up with Norton for the first time, while the latter is making his first run since arriving from France having hacked up on his most recent start at Chantilly.
The draw is key in the Portland
Trends followers will already have this one down to a tee, but the draw is of utmost importance in the Ladbrokes Portland (14:35), with six of the last eight winners berthed in stall 15 or higher.
Favourite B Fifty Two lands the plum draw of 22, but with his most recent second his only sign of life in six starts, he does come with plenty of risks.
Three stalls away in 19 Charlie Hills’ Lucky Beggar is lurking off a dangerous mark of 96, a full 6lbs lower than his last winning rating and could pounce if replicating his recent efforts.
Don’t let a defeat put you off the Park Stakes winner
Many taking a quick glance at racecards will look straight for the horse with a ‘1’ next to their name in the hope that they are flying on all cylinders.
That could be a risky method in the Park Stakes, with just two of the last 10 winners even making the places on their previous start.
That could bode well for Richard Hannon’s Ivawood who was beaten into seventh behind top sprinter Muhaarar at Deauville, and could appreciate the step back up in trip at Donny.
Room for an upset in the St Leger
The big race looks likely to be Aidan O’Brien’s to lose, but even though the money has come for Bondi Beach, promoting him to favouritism, but that’s not necessarily a good thing in the world’s oldest Classic.
Just two jollies have obliged in the St Leger in eight years, with the likes of Enke (25/1) and Arctic Cosmos (12/1) leaving the bookies grinning from ear to ear. Could Simple Verse be the fly in the ointment this year?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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