‘DOUBLE WHAMMY’ TWICE TO START LEGER MEETING: Daqman delivered a double whammy of lay and winning bet in two races yesterday, including an 8-1 winner, for a 20 points net profit on the first day of the Leger meeting.

8-1 AND 9-2 WINNERS: In the very first race at Doncaster, he laid Jessie’s Spirit (unplaced 6-1) and tipped Ghostwriting (WON 9-2). Then at Kempton last night he laid Catchanova (unplaced 4-1) and bet on Iron Step (WON 8-1)

Anyone would think it’s Thursday! Don’t race-planners understand that punters like to get their teeth into a big-field quality handicap. All I see them doing today is messing about with the Pattern – Sceptre Stakes raised in status – to justify sharing more prizemoney among their friends and spuriously extending ‘a festival.’ The Park Hill is also a grade too high.

As anyone in education will tell you, authority long ago discovered that the best way of dumbing down (sorry ‘improving the quality’) is to lower the bar while pretending to raise it. Everybody’s happy, though they have nothing!

1.25 Doncaster: They won from the stands’ side; they won from the far side. Yesterday’s returns by stall don’t help us much, except maybe the bigger the field the better for the high draw (that may be of use in the 2.25 sales race).

Tim Easterby, who won a nursery at Carlisle yesterday, has two winners from the front in this, Alabanda and Blue Shoes, drawn 9 and 11, with Silvestre De Sousa booked for Blue Shoes.

But David Elsworth’s Elusive Flame (stall 1) also made all at Newmarket, and note that Easterby has a third contender Roger Sez who, like Responsive and Vassaria, drops down in class from a Listed effort.

The most a winner of this has carried is 9st 3lb, and the top weights are going to feel it even more if any rain gets into the ground. Only one favourite has won this century. Tough start to the day.

1.55 Doncaster (Sceptre Stakes): Three-year-olds are ahead eight out of nine in this and the improver of the race, clearly the Irish raider Alanza, could make it six consecutively for second-season animals.

Dever Dream won it as a Listed race when aged three last year and was at fair odds until Pricewise tipped her but note that the game has changed: this is a Group-3 now, and ‘Dever’ has been a nearly horse at that level this season, first at York then tonked at Goodwood by Chachamaidee, who also had her well behind (with Seta) in a Group 2 at Ascot.

You have to bet that 3lb will make the difference to Dever Dream’s Goodwood form (Rimth and Magic Eye behind) but Raceform marked her ‘no chance with winner’, when she was nearly three lengths off Chachamaidee.

2.25 Doncaster: There have been one or two decent winners of this: Wootton Bassett last year before his Grand Criterium win at Longchamp and the Haydock Sprint hero, Somnus.

The 21-runner getting-out stakes yesterday went to stalls 19-22-13-15, and winners of this race have been drawn 16 and 21 in the last three seasons. But stalls 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 today contain winning front-runners.

Oh dear, where can we get an edge? The answer from the stats is that only leading trainers with the juvenile firepower can win it: Balding, Fahey, Hills, Meehan and Noseda recently.

You should also check out those runners with two-year-old ‘classic’-race entries, or already Group and Listed placed: Reply, Boris Grigoriev, Big Note, Ladys First, North Star Boy, Betty Fontaine.

To summarise: you want one relatively unexposed from a leading yard which has juveniles in depth at home, and highly regarded from past or future entries. I’ll stick with Bogart who did me a big favour at York. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!

3.00 Doncaster (Park Hill Stakes): This so-called ‘St Leger for fillies’, which has gone to three-year-olds six times in the last decade, lacks the class of its Group-2 status, with the best of their year taking on the colts in the real thing on Saturday.

Only Sense Of Purpose and Meeznah have been able to win a Group 3, and there’s very little between Meeznah, Set To Music and Cracking Lass on a line through Polly’s Mark. Allowing for further improvement for a second-season animal, you’d have to side with Set To Music.

4.10 Doncaster: Another massive field of sprinters – at least you’ll have the 2.25 result to guide you as to the draw – and not much to be found at Epsom, where they feel obliged to put on another daft race (a jump-jockeys’ Derby) under the guise of trying to attract customers.

I wish Julie Krone had stayed on another day or two and pegged them all out to dry. Can’t somebody offer her a contract? She’s a punter’s meal-ticket.

Dream on, Daqman; what’s gonna win the 4.10? I’ll assume that Dimension will get the pace he needs, dropped back to this trip under Fallon.

It’s hardly a day for making money, so I’ve tried to spread my stakes (to win 20 points each) over four horses so that, whichever one wins – I hope more than one wins, of course – it will just about pay for the other bets. Two will do for me. Three is another dimension!
BET 7pts win ALANZA and 2pts win (stakes saver) CHACHAMAIDEE (1.55 Doncaster)
BET 6.6pts win BOGART (2.25 Doncaster)
BET 8pts win (nap) SET TO MUSIC (3.00 Doncaster)
BET 3.5pts win DIMENSION (4.10 Doncaster)