It’s the final day of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster on Sunday and GG’s latest recruit Matthew Sutcliffe has two selections for the card, including a confident 2pt win selection!
Published: 9.15pm 16th September (Odds correct at time of publication)
St Leger Festival Punts
DAY FOUR (SUNDAY)
2.25 Doncaster – Betfred City Of Doncaster Handicap (Class 2) (3yo 0-100)
ZOUKY (5/1 generally – 2pt win)
The conditions have been tacky to say the least at Doncaster this week, so given the top three in the market all having something to prove upped to seven furlongs for the first time, I’ll look outside that trio for one with proven form on the going and distance. Also since 2008, this race has been ran with ‘soft’ in the going five times, with the winners coming from stalls 11,1,7,6,6. So ideally, you want to be on something drawn middle to high (when the winner was drawn 1 in 2013, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th came from 10,8,16 and 15). One who ticks all the aforementioned factors is Phillip McBride’s Zouky. The daughter of Zoustar was unbeaten in two starts as a two year old around this time last year, latterly beating a now 91r rival by a neck giving her 7lbs in the process. She reappeared with a promising enough 3L 5th on handicap/AW debut in at Lingfield in March, though her chances were ultimately scuppered by racing fairly wide. The form’s worked out well though, the 4th’s won twice since, the 3rd’s won twice since and is now rated 92, and the 2nd won the listed Beverley Bullet last time out, now rated 106. Zouky was disappointing at Chelmsford in listed company a month later though she again raced wide, and she raced on an unfavourable part of the track at York thereafter. She eventually got back in the winning groove at Newbury last time out down in class, posting a career best RPR while carrying top-weight. That was her first time upped to 7F and she clearly relished the distance as well as her first go on softened ground, as she clocked the quickest 4th, 6th and 7th furlong of the race, only just really getting going at the line, taking her turf record to 3 from 4. She benefitted from being held up there, and we’ve seen throughout the week at Doncaster that if the field go off too quick, it’s hard to sustain the gallop on the ground, likely favouring something from off the pace. Five of the last ten winners of the contest were held up, and William Buick, who has a 100% SR for the yard this season, has won the last two renewals which is an obvious plus.
3.35 Doncaster – Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares) (Class 1) (3yo+)
CELL SA BEELA (22/1 generally with bookies paying four places – 0.5pt E/W)
Favourites have won just one of the last ten renewals of this contest, which doesn’t bode to well for the chances of last years 1000 Guineas winner Cachet on her belated reappearance. Roger Varian won this race in 2014 and 2015, the former with a 3yo. He sends Cell Sa Beela there tomorrow, who was a pointer for the column when 3rd in her group of 11 in the Sandringham. She briefly hit the front there a furlong out on the wrong side of the track, but weakened into 11th having raced keenly on seasonal reappearance. She improved on that performance when beaten A 2L 8th in the Distaff at Sandown when getting no run up the infamous dead inside rail. The form of that has worked out well, the 10th fairly bolted up off a mark of 87 at Ascot next time out, with the 9th just in behind. The 7th won a Group 3 at Goodwood beating the Sandringham 2nd with Dream of Love in behind, who’s an 8/1 shot for the race tomorrow. Cell Sa Beela then went to Longchamp last time out where she recorded a career best on RPR’s, finishing 3rd by a length and three quarters. They left the hood off there and she settled very well for once, and I’m hopeful that run puts her back on track for living up to that illustrious pedigree of hers. She drops back in trip which shouldn’t be an issue given she’s a strong traveller, and she handled the ground well enough at Longchamp which may aid her cause should stamina come in to play, along with the strong pace forecast.
Matt Sutcliffe’s St Leger Day Four Bets
DAY FOUR (SUNDAY)
2.25 Doncaster – ZOUKY (2pt win – 5/1 generally)
3.35 Doncaster – CELL SA BEELA (0.5pt E/W – 25/1 generally with bookies paying 4 places)
Matt Sutcliffe’s tip for Sunday 17th September 2023.
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