Doncaster – Saturday
He is seven now but the handicapper has certainly given him a chance, dropping him 5lb for his run down the field in the Clipper Logistics at York on his reappearance. That looks pretty generous considering that was a red-hot handicap. He has run well at this course before, and he has a decent chance at the weights now if recapturing the form he showed either side of the turn of the year when rattling up a hat-trick. He clearly needs to show a bit more than at York, but that was his first since March and he certainly did not run badly there.
He is an outsider, but I have seen worse 33-1 chances. It is clearly not ideal that he comes here on the back of his disappointing run in the Derby. He stumbled at the start there, and was never going, but then again plenty of others disappointed that day as well, and we all finished in a heap, so perhaps we should just draw a line under it and move on. And his earlier form entitles him to plenty of respect here, perhaps more so than the betting suggests. He beat Subjectivist and Berlin Tango at Salisbury last year, and he shaped really from off the pace when third to Pyledriver in the King Edward VII Stakes on his reappearance. His trainer is happy with him, and his pedigree certainly gives you plenty of encouragement that he will stay, while the drying ground is fine for him. It is clearly a very open St Leger. Hukum and Galileo Chrome are hard horses to get a handle on, but they are clearly moving forward quickly, while Pyledriver and Santiago are the form horses. Every so often you get a horse that totally defies his pedigree, and Pyledriver is a freak in the fact that he gets 1m4f so strongly and so well and promises to stay this extra 2f or so. He has the best form, having won the recognized trial so easily at York, and he is the one to beat.
Chelmsford – Sunday
This handicap has really cut up, but it could still take some winning. Arbalet must have a strong chance though after a good second at Ascot last Saturday, where he could well have won but for being hampered throughout the final stages by the third. He has gone up 2lb but he has form off much higher marks than this in the past, and he has a decent run to his name here last season.
He is another horse to have returned to form at Ascot last time. He races off the same mark here and has run okay in previous starts here, so he certainly has his chance in another small-field handicap.
Seas Of Elzaam
He has been running well enough on turf of late, and has actually been eased 1lb after his latest run. He is 3lb lower than when a good fourth here in June, and he is another of mine with what looks a fair chance. His best form has come at 6f so far, though.