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Tom O'Ryan hoping to prevail in Doncaster duel of legends
If Muftarres doesn’t win tomorrow’s Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Stakes at Doncaster, please don’t blame the jockey.
It’s that time of the year again, a trip down memory lane for some golden and maybe not-so-golden oldies, as 16 ex-jockeys contest the only charity race run in Britain under Rules for a prize fund of £10,000. And, as you’ve probably guessed already , ‘yours truly’ will be aboard Muftarres for North Yorkshire trainer Paul Midgley.
The gelding has been in good form. He’s won two of his last three starts and, who knows, if he’d gained a clear run at Beverley last time, he might have won his last three. So, he’s clearly in with a chance in what is a wide-open race. Virtually every runner in the race boasts the same rating, which makes this race as even as possible.
As for the opposition, there are some big, big names. Mutiple Irish champion Mick Kinane, regular rider of Sea The Stars, is out of retirement to ride Patriotic, as is former American ace Julie Krone, who won this race last year and bids to defend her title on Richard Fahey’s Sunnyside Tom.
Add to those two Derby-winning jockeys, Willie Ryan (Masters Blazing) and John Reid (Chookie Avon), former champion Flat jockey Kevin Darley (Save The Bees), former top jumps pilot Jamie Osborne (Gunner Will) and Norton trainer Ollie Pears (The Ducking Stool), and there is certainly no lack of talent in the riding ranks.
Hopefully, Muftarres can do his stuff and give me a good ride. Moreover, I need to give him a good ride. He’s a hold-up horse. With a bit of luck, he’ll be appearing late-ish on the scene. With a bigger slice of luck, he will have his head in front when it matters.
I can hardly tip something else in the race, can I? So Muftarres is my selection, and I’ve only got myself to blame if it goes wrong.
The opening day of the St Leger Festival is highlighted by the £40,000 Scarbrough Stakes, a five-furlong Listed event, which represents a drop down in class for Sole Power, who finished seventh in last month’s Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe at York.
Two years ago, the Irish raider won the Knavesmire showpiece at odds of 100-1. He has since shown there was no fluke about that success.
This season, he has finished second in the Group 2 Temple Stakes and third in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. He should have too much class for his rivals here, especially if rain stays away. Johnny Murtagh has the mount.
The Kat Communications Conditions Stakes has attracted a five-strong field, which includes last year’s winner Cai Shen.
Although he ran poorly at Goodwood last time out, Richard Hannon’s charge had previously been beaten only a couple of lengths into fourth into a Group 2 contest. A reproduction of that form would make him hard to beat here.
Paul Hanagan has a good ride in the Napoleans Casinos & Restaurants Conditions Stakes aboard nap selection Ribaat, who made a stylish winning debut at Haydock last month.
The Roger Varian-trained juvenile had a big home reputation before that race – he was sent off the 6-4 favourite – and he is plainly held in high regard.
Richard Fahey’s Alejandro is worth considering in the Elements Medispa Handicap. The three-year-old has run two rock-solid races at Chester lately and is overdue a winning chance.
Whatever the fate of Muftarres, Midgley has a second chance on the card with Haajes in the BJS Handicap.
The recent Hamilton winner landed this corresponding race 12 months ago and is set to run off an identical mark.
2.00 Red Avenger, 2.30 Ribaat (NAP), 3.05 Sole Power, 3.40 Muftarres, 4.10 Cai Shen, 4.45 Alejandro, 5.15 Haajes.
1.50 French Press, 2.20 Uncle Brit, 2.50 Ghur, 3.25 Van Percy, 4.00 Orions Hero, 4.30 Master Of Arts, 5.05 Multi Bene, 5.35 Silver Samba.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Kempton and Uttoxeter.
Today’s meetings: Leicester, Redcar and Worcester.