St Leger Festival 2020 Betting Preview
One of the biggest flat festivals of the season has been capturing the imagination all week, but the biggest race of the entire festival takes place on Saturday. The prestigious Pertemps St Leger Stakes race is always one of the most exciting of the season, and it promises to be no different this year.
3:35 – Pertemps St Leger Stakes
(Group 1) (British Champions Series)
The St Leger is the final leg of the English Triple Crown, and is the oldest of the five British Classics throughout the season. The prestige of this race is off the scale, with the first running of the St Leger coming in 1776. This race is open to colts and fillies that are aged three, and it is run over a distance of one mile, six furlongs and 115 yards. There will be great excitement this year, as it will also be one of the only big races that will actually have fans in attendance, which will make it a special day for all in attendance at Doncaster.
Famous winners of this race in the past include Nijinsky, Capri and Kew Gardens. Frankie Dettori won this race for the first time in eleven years last year with Logician. There is a lot of attention on this year’s two front runners Pyledriver and Santiango, with prices expected to be very close. Both horses will come into the St Leger Stakes having won two of their previous three. Pyledrive, for William Muir, won at the Royal meeting back in June, before recently taking first in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.
Santiago is the preference for the race however, as trainer Aidan O’Brien has an incredible record in the St Leger. He has won two of the previous three runnings of the race, and Santiago is already looking every inch a star in the making. She won the Queen’s Vase at Ascot in June, before roaring to success in the Irish derby at Curragh. She also showed good form last time out in the Goodwood Cup as she stayed on to finish second behind Stradivarius.
1:50 – Bet365 Champagne Stakes
The Group action at Doncaster on the Saturday gets underway the Bet365 Champagne Stakes at 1:50. There is a competitive field for the seven furlong race, with all involved likely to have a chance. The majority of the field have only run on two previous occasions, as the race is open to colts and geldings aged two. There have been some prestigious winners of the race in the past, with Too Darn Hot winning the Champagne Stakes in 2018.
Chindit will be the leader in the betting for the race for Richard Hannon, who’s looking for a third success in this race. It is the same connection of Pat Dobbs riding Chindit as he did for Hannon’s winner last year; Threat. Chindit has won both previous outings this season, with the success at Doncaster in July highlighting her credentials at this course. It’s hard to look past Chindit as the winner, but competitive horses looking to seize their chance could include Albasheer and One Ruler, who both won last time out.
3:00 – Bet365 Park Stakes
The only other Group race at Doncaster on Saturday will see the Park Stakes competed. The Group 2 race is run over seven furlongs and six yards and is open to horses aged three and older. It has been a regular race as part of the St Leger Festival since it was first run in 1978. Since then, winners of this race have included Bishop of Cashel, Iffraaj and Arabian Gleam, who have all won this race on two occasions.
Limato will be looking to join that illustrious list of horses to win the race on two occasions, winning previously in 2015 with Andrea Atzeni. Adam Kirby takes the reins this year, but Limato remains the standout contender having won last time out in the Betway Criterion Stakes at Newmarket. It’s hard to see past Limato winning, but a leading contender could be Zakouski, who has won his last two.