Horse Racing

Doncaster St Leger Festival & Leopardstown Irish Champions Weekend – Saturday 11th September

Saturday 11th September 13:45

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith previews and gives selections for the final day of Doncaster's St Leger Festival and Leopardstown's Irish Champion Weekend card.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Count D'Orsay 20/1 each-way (6 places)
Doncaster 13.45
Place Bet
Rhythm Master 12/1 each-way (without favourite Laneqash)
Doncaster 15.00
Place Bet
Mojo Star 8/1 each-way
Doncaster 15.35
Place Bet
Ciel D'Afrique 12/1 each-way (6 places)
Leopardstown 15.45
Place Bet

Date of Tips: 11/09/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:53 11/09/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Goodness me, what a weekend of racing! St Leger day, Irish Champions weekend, a brilliantly competitive Sky Bet Sunday Series at Haydock, and a quality two-day meeting at Musselburgh surely provide a whole host of treats for every type of racing fan.

All week long I have been keeping more than half an eye on the Portland Handicap at Doncaster at 1.45, as the likes of Hurricane Ivor, course specialist Jawwaal and last year’s winner Stone Of Destiny formed a potential shortlist. But the heavy rain yesterday, turning the ground officially to ‘good to soft, soft in places,’ has tempered enthusiasm as they would all prefer genuine good ground.

If there was a bet to be had in the race now, it would be Count D’Orsay at 20/1 each-way with Paddy Power, who are both offering 7 places. On the face of it, Tim Easterby’s sprinter has been a little below par lately, but he has long had the look of a horse who will be suited by this intermediate trip of 5½f.

Plus, if you look at his record in September and October, it reads: 11 runs, 3 wins, 4 seconds. When compared with his record in all other months: 24 runs, 2 wins, 1 second, 2 thirds – then quite clearly Count D’Orsay comes alive in the autumn.

His record on soft ground bears the closes scrutiny too, as his starts on ground described as ‘good to soft’ or worse reads: 13 runs, 4 wins, 3 seconds, 1 third. Again, when compared to the alternative starts on a sounder surface: 22 runs, 1 win, 2 seconds, 2 thirds – and it’s quite clear that Count D’Orsay is ripe and ready for a prosperous autumn on his favoured softer surfaces.

At 20/1 each-way, Count D’Orsay is definitely worth a go, especially now the likely pace angles that were drawn low, King Of Stars and Justanotherbottle, have been withdrawn. It’s more than likely most of the pace is now middle to high, and so Count D’Orsay’s draw in stall 15 could be advantageous.

There’s a couple of other interesting bets to be had on the Doncaster card, following on in the Cazoo Park Stakes at 3.00. Not wishing to take on Laneqash as favourite, instead it could be worth backing Rhythm Master in the market ‘without favourite Laneqash’ at 12/1 each-way with Bet365.

The rain will have been very much in Rhythm Master’s favour, and he’s overpriced on his third place in last season’s Group 1 Prix Morny on soft ground, and also his fourth place in this season’s Jersey Stakes, again on soft ground.

Rhythm Master is 25/1 in the outright market, and 20/1 with William Hill’s useful ‘Pick Your Places’ section, where you get 3 places in this 6-runner race. I wouldn’t put anyone off either, but for the purpose of recommendation, 12/1 each-way in the market ‘without favourite Laneqash’ will do.

The big race of the day – Cazoo St Leger at 3.35 at Doncaster, could easily go the way of the favourite Hurricane Lane, but Mojo Star beat him in the Epsom Derby, and but for being the meat in the sandwich two furlongs out in the Irish Derby, Mojo Star surely wouldn’t have been far away from Hurricane Lane there either.

So, the extra emphasis on stamina that this race will provide can easily suit Mojo Star, and he’s a standout each-way bet in the big one at 8/1 with BetVictor or William Hill.

Over at Leopardstown, it is the first of two days of thrilling action in the Irish Champions Weekend, and the one bet to be had comes in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Petingo’ Handicap at 3.45.

Dermot Weld has won this race with the lightly raced Silwana and Kastasa, with the latter being ridden to victory by Andrew Slattery in 2019, and the pair can claim the prize again with Ciel D’Afrique.

The strapping grey son of Sea The Stars has any amount of improvement to come from his Roscommon maiden win, given he was dossing around like a good’un in the closing stages there, flicking his ears back and forth like a Jack Russell hunting a rabbit!

The combination of a better race and a hood being applied, will allow Ciel D’Afrique to settle better, and at 12/1 each-way with Betfair Sportsbook for 6 places, he is the bet of the Leopardstown card today.

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