A superb afternoon of racing features the St Leger (1m6½f) at Doncaster and the Irish Champion Stakes (1m2f) at Leopardstown on the first day of Irish Champions Weekend.
Eight runners line up for the world’s oldest Classic on Town Moor and Khalid Abdullah’s Logician, impressive winner of the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes in August, is a short-priced favourite to extend his unbeaten record to five races.
Trainer John Gosden knows what it takes to win the St Leger, having taken the Classic with Shantou (1996), Lucarno (2007), Arctic Cosmos (2010) and Masked Marvel (2011), and looks to have an outstanding chance of win number five with the son of Frankel.
Logician’s opposition includes Sir Dragonet, Il Paradiso and Western Australia from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien, looking for his third straight St Leger triumph and seventh overall, while Sir Ron Priestley and Nayef Road represent Middleham maestro Mark Johnston.
Doncaster’s programme also features two Group 2 events, the Park Stakes (7f) and the Pommery Champagne Stakes (7f) for two-year-old colts and geldings.
Leopardstown’s main event is the Irish Champion Stakes and this year’s renewal looks an open affair. Magical has finished runner-up on her last three starts behind Crystal Ocean and Enable (twice) and Ryan Moore opts to partner the daughter of Galileo in preference to a ride in the St Leger.
The Kevin Prendergast-trained Madhmoon, Roger Charlton’s improving three-year-old Headman, Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, Japanese mare Deirdre and Juddmonte International third Elarqam, who was supplemented by connections, add spice to an intriguing contest.
John Dance’s top-class filly Laurens bids for a repeat victory in Leopardstown’s other Group 1 event, the Matron Stakes (1m).
There are also meetings today at Lingfield (turf), Chester, Bath, Musselburgh and Chelmsford while Listowel hold a jumps card.
Newmarket handler William Haggas has sent fillies Awesometank and Magnetic Charm over to Canada for raids on two valuable contests at Woodbine.
Awesometank, who chased home Sistercharlie in the Beverly D Stakes in August, takes on ten rivals in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile (1m), while Magnetic Charm, owned by the Queen, contests the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes (1m1f).
Godolphin’s Old Persian, trained by Charlie Appleby, faces a small but select field in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (1m4f). His five opponents include Tiz A Slam, impressive over course and distance at Grade 2 level in July and searching for a four-timer.
Spendthrift’s new boys
Kentucky outfit Spendthrift Farm has announced its new intake of stallions ahead of the 2020 breeding season.
Alongside the Grade 1 winners Mitole and Omaha Beach, Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Gold Cup victor Vino Rosso, Grade 2 scorer Maximus Mischief, son of sire-of-the-moment Into Mischief, and Coal Front, winner of the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan in March, will be available to breeders next year.