FIELDS Of Athenry may have chartered an unusual path to Classic glory, but he looks a tempting proposition in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster today.
Not many Leger winners will have had their prep in handicap company, but Fields Of Athenry was last seen in the Ebor at York.
It is rare for three-year-olds to even get a run in that race these days and Fields Of Athenry had obviously shown a high level of form prior to that, but his run on the Knavesmire was eyecatching to say the least.
Ridden by trainer Aidan O’Brien’s son, Donnacha, he needed to overcome a wide draw, but he was asked to cover a lot of the wide expanse at York, and, for a horse with so little experience, it was a massive effort that he was able to stay on for fifth.
On the back of that we know, he stays and, if he is ridden more conservatively, he should have enough left in the tank for the finish, with the booking of Silvestre de Sousa only increasing confidence. Prior to his run at York, he had made his reputation dominating small fields in Ireland and he could get an easy time of things at the head of affairs if the Storm The Stars team want to get a lead this time rather than cutting out the running.
Charlie Appleby has a decent team of juveniles and the best of the bunch may well be Emotionless, who reappears in the At The Races Champagne Stakes.
Having already pencilled in Wednesday’s Doncaster winner Venturous for the Middle Park, it would appear, if everything goes to plan, that Emotionless will be his Dewhurst contender.
The imposing Shamardal colt was a most impressive winner of his sole start to date at Newmarket and big things are expected of him.
George Dryden won a hugely competitive sprint at York on Sunday and reappears under a 6lb penalty in the Ladbrokes Portland.
Ann Duffield’s sprinter had been without a win since his two-year-old debut but a little bit of respite from the handicapper saw him bounce back to form.
He looked like he had just joined in at the two-furlong pole and he can expect more than a 6lb rise when his new weight is revealed next week.
Hugo Palmer’s Home Of The Brave was very impressive when winning the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh and he could prove hard to catch in the Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes.
Having failed to see out a mile in the Guineas, he then found six furlongs too sharp in the Commonwealth Cup, but, over the intermediate trip of seven furlongs he looked right at home.
The form has worked out, too, as Gordon Lord Byron subsequently ran well in the Maurice de Gheest.
Sheikhzayedroad faces his easiest task for some time in the Betfair Stand Cup at Chester. David Simcock’s globetrotter stepped up to two miles last time out and was not beaten too far by Big Orange, but this return to a mile and a half will suit him much more.
Moon Eyes is not one of William Haggas’ stable stars but can open her account in the Profab Windows Maiden Stakes at Bath, while the Charlie Hills-trained Doubly Motivated will be hard to beat in the FSB Legal Information Online/British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield,
Of course there is fantastic racing in Ireland, where Cirrus Des Aigles looks a huge price in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
The veteran may have been off games for a while, but, if the forecast rain arrives, that will play to his strengths, which is more than can be said for the principals.
Cirrus Des Aigles certainly loves the mud and, as he showed when defeating Al Kazeem in May, he is as good as ever.