Rest of the action from day two of The William Hill St Leger Festival

Georgia Cox got Ladies Day off to a flyer as she steered Paul Midgley’s Buccaneers Vault (9-1) to victory in the opening DFS Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap Stakes.

Cox produced the gelding with a winning run in the final furlong and he galloped all the way to the line to hold off the fast-finishing Kenny The Captain (4-1f) with Paddy Power (14-1) back in third.
Cox said: “He is very straightforward to ride and he took me into the race really well.

“Mr Midgley was very confident about his chances and actually told me he’d win, so full credit to him. He was a bit fresh out of the stalls and we met a little bit of trouble, but it didn’t seem to bother him.”

Karl Burke’s Ellthea (8-1) left her recent form behind her to run out an impressive winner of the EBF British stallions Studs “Carrie Red” Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Stakes.

Burke’s filly had come up short in higher grades following her Carlisle win and she took advantage of the drop in class as she drew clear of 7-4 favourite Clubbable with ease. She’s Different (5-1) ran on for third.

Burke said: “She’s been in season nearly all year. At home and at the races she’s been very agitated. It’s the first time since Carlisle that she’s not been in season. She probably wasn’t ready for the race in France at that stage.

“There’s a Listed race over in Ireland over a mile that she’ll probably go to next.”

The formidable team of Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni were celebrating yet another victory at Doncaster as Laugh A Minute won the Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes.

Varian’s colt was without a win in three starts going into the race, but quickly shed his maiden tag with a stylish performance.

Laugh A Minute (12-1) came home clear of Danzan (12-1) and Alba Power (9-1).

Feliz Lepeudry, pupil assistant to Varian, said: “He did that really well. He needed his previous runs and the step back in trip helped.

“The orders were to sit at the back and be patient which Andrea did really well. Roger Varian congratulates Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and all his staff, it’s lovely to see these colours here today and we hope it will continue this week.

“We’ll see how the form works out, Roger and the lads always thought a bit of him. He’s shown enough at home but the betting didn’t really believe in us.”

Atzeni recorded a quick double as Euginio (11-4) won  the Handicap Stakes.

Richard Hannon’s colt held off the late challenge of Another Eclipse (5-2J).

Hannon said: “He’s been a slow horse to come to hand. He’s in the Cambridgeshire but I think next year will be his year.

“He’s always been a lovely big strong horse. You struggle to see when he’s fit as he carries a lot of weight on him. This track suits him as he takes his time to get going but he’s really next year’s horse.

“He worries me slightly that he runs around a bit and just does enough in patches, whether he might need headgear or not we’ll see. It might help him and it’s another option but he’s done enough today for me.”

What A Home (Evs) wrapped up another top day of racing with a win in the Breeders’ Series EBF Fillies’ Handicap Stakes.

William Haggas’ three-year-old continued on her upward curve coming home clear of Pacharana (12-1) in second.

Winning jockey Paul Hanagan said: She did well because there wasn’t that much pace on. She took a bit of a grip early on but when she got going she showed a great attitude.

“She’s an improving filly and has a good mind so onwards and upwards.”


Alyssa toughs it out to land the DFS Park Hill Stakes

Alyssa (25-1) produced a battling performance to win the Group 2 DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster racecourse.

Ralph Beckett’s filly took the field along and was still in front as they turned for home. She looked as if she would get swallowed up by the chasing pack and was headed in the home straight.

But Pat Dobbs had a willing partner and although Aljezeera and Melodic Motion produced strong runs in the final stages and looked to have the race between them, Alyssa found more in the locker to get back up and win by half a length.

Aljezeera (11-2) and Melodic Motion (9-2C) came home together in a dead heat for second place.

Beckett said: “She was lobbing along in front, and I just thought turning in that she’d actually done nothing for over a mile and they might just have a job to get past her.

“I was also watching my other filly Melodic Motion who was travelling like a dream. But I’m delighted for Miss Rausing (owner) for her to win this race.

“She might go for the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day next.

“I think perhaps Melodic Motion didn’t quite get the trip today. She travelled like the winner.”

William Hill quoted Alyssa as a 20-1 shot for the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot.

Laurens shines in The William Hill May Hill Stakes

Karl Burke’s Laurens (11-4f) stayed on best to win a thrilling renewal of the William Hill May Hill Stakes at Doncaster racecourse.

Mark Johnston’s Nyaleti showed plenty of speed up front, but coming into the final furlong the field started to make ground on Johnston’s filly.

Simon Crisford’s Dark Rose Angel produced a strong challenge on the far side while Laurens was still finding top gear, but jockey PJ McDonald got Laurens up in the final strides to claim the Group 2 contest.

Dark Rose Angel (14-1) was a head away in second with the same distance back to Nyaleti (4-1) in third.

Burke said: “She’s a lovely filly, she’s got the looks, the class the action. We’ve thought a lot of her for a long time and obviously she was an expensive purchase at the time.

“There’s a long way to go from now until next year but if everything stays together and she’s in one piece then she’s very useful.

“She’s had a tough race there so we’ll see if she will head for another race this season, if she didn’t run again this year then it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

“She could be supplemented for the Prix Marcel Boussac. She will only improve from that run today. She’s also in the Fillies’ Mile and that would give her an extra week or so, so that’s a possibility.

“Looking ahead to next year, she’s got an entry in the Irish Guineas already, I’d say she’d be entered in all the Guineas but the Prix de Diane would be the target I would have in mind for her.”

Asked where she would rank amongst Burke’s best fillies, he added: “As far as the fillies are concerned she’s the best we’ve had at this stage.”

William Hill priced Laurens as a 25-1 shot for next year’s 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket racecourse.

Megan Nicholls wins The Silk Series

Following wins at Brighton and Bath Racecourses, Megan Nicholls is the inaugural winner of The Silk Series, with a third-place finish at Doncaster Racecourse.Megan Nicholls Receives The Tufnell Trophy at Doncaster Racecourse

Riding Richard Fahey’s PADDY POWER, Megan scored 12 points to put herself clear at the top of The Silk Series leaderboard on 60 points ahead of Nicola Currie in second on 40.  Winning the DFS Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap at Doncaster on BUCCANEERS VAULT, Georgia Cox finished The Silk Series in third place on 38.

The new series of races, worth a total of £100,000, has taken place over the summer at nine Arena Racing Company (‘ARC’) Ladies’ Days, with the aim of celebrating and championing the achievements of female jockeys in Britain.  A total of over thirty jockeys took part in The Silk Series at some point over the summer.

In addition to the races, the Silk Series has been raising funds and awareness on Cancer Research UK, with 75 pence from each ticket sold to the nine fixtures donated to CRUK.  Official betting partner, bet365 have been promoting The Silk Series to their followers on social media to help build awareness of the races.

For winning The Silk Series, Megan received The Tufnell Trophy from Wynne Tufnell.  The trophy is named in honour of Meriel Tufnell who was the first woman to ride a winner under the rules of racing, at Kempton Park in 1972, and Wynne Tufnell’s sister. Megan received the trophy, designed and kindly donated by Inkerman, along with an original piece by equestrian artist Jane Braithwaite, that featured the jockeys at the top of The Silk Series table.

On winning The Silk Series, Megan Nicholls commented, ‘I’m delighted to have won The Silk Series, and am really grateful for the opportunity to get such a good ride today.  It was pretty close coming into the race, with a few of us able to win, so it was a relief at the finish line!

The Silk Series has been a brilliant initiative this summer and given the ladies plenty of opportunities to ride for some new trainers in front of big crowds.”

For more information on The Silk Series, please visit

Talented youngsters steal the show on the opening day of The William Hill St Leger Festival

There were plenty of bright prospects on show as the William Hill St Leger Festival kicked off with a bang on Wednesday at Doncaster racecourse.

Shabaaby (13-8) confirmed he was a two-year-old on the up with a comfortable win in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Conditions Stakes for trainer Owen Burrows and jockey Jim Crowley.

The colt was a class apart from his rivals as he drew clear of the field, coming home seven lengths in front of John Kirkup (9-2).

Burrows said: “That was very smooth, he’s done it very nicely. He’s improving with every run which is great. He settles well and then when you pull him out he’s got a fair amount of gears.

“He’s still a frame really, with a winter on his back and some time to strengthen up he’s one to look forward to.”

Nobleman’s Nest (5-2f) bounced back to form in the Owlerton Greyhound Stadium  Nursery Handicap after disappointing in the Gimcrack at York on his last start.

He readily put the race to bed under Silvestre De Sousa with Crownthorpe (4-1) coming home second and Placebo Effect (8-1) in third.

Winning trainer Simon Crisford said: “York was a massive disappointment, we couldn’t work out why he ran so badly and nothing came to light after it.

“But he’s put that race to bed very quickly there and travelled well. He’s a nice, uncomplicated and straightforward colt.

“We came here still having lots of belief in him and we fancied him to win. We’ll see what’s round the corner for him.”

Encore D’Or (13-2) won in good style in the Pepsi Max Scarbrough Stakes under Ryan Moore as he gained his first win on turf.

Robert Cowell’s sprinter picked up late to score by a length from Clive Cox’s 33-1 outsider Razzmatazz.

Greg Chung, assistant to Robert Cowell said: “It worked out well, we got into the race nicely and Ryan gave him a great ride.”

Silvestre De Sousa completed a double on the day as he rode Lahore (7-2f) to an impressive victory in the William Hill Get The App On Google Play Handicap Stakes for trainer Roger Varian.

The three-year-old readily drew clear of his rivals and came home four lengths in front of Bengal Lancer (9-2).

Sam Freedman, representing Varian, said: “The question mark today was would he get the trip as he’s quite keen but he settled well and travelled into the race nicely.

“He’s still learning about it all so whether Roger throws him in the deep end in a higher grade just yet I’m not sure. He’s always shown us plenty at home and he’s a nice one for the future.”

Atzeni added: “He won well and I think the conditions possibly slowed down the rest of the field a bit which made his job easier.

“Maybe next year he can step back up to Group company, he’s still a bit immature.”

Varian sent out a quick double at Doncaster as Mount Logan (2-1) stuck on gamely to win the Sports ID – Strength In Sport Conditions Stakes

The six-year-old battled well to hold off the challenge of Red Verdon (5-1).

Freedman added: “He won the race last year and he’s been a good old horse for Roger. He’s been in the mix every race this year so it’s good to see him get his head back in front.”

Trainer Michael Mullineaux struck gold in the last as his Somewhere Secret (11-1) stuck his neck out to win the Handicap Stakes.

Ridden by Phil Dennis, the three-year-old was winning the first race of his career as he narrowly held off the late challenge of Suwaan (16-1).

A delighted Mullineaux said: “He really battled well there, they’ve gone very quick up front and he’s picked them off.

“The trip takes some getting today but it’s great to come to my home town and have a winner!”


Brian Harding returns the Leger Legend

Recently-retired Brian Harding stole the show as he drove Off Art (5-1) home to take glory in the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster racecourse.


Harding, who retired from the saddle in April, persisted with Tim Easterby’s seven-year-old despite being off the bridle a fair way from home.


Easterby’s gelding stuck to the task well to record his first win since 2013. Fire Palace (10-1) and Adrian Nicholls followed him home in second with Character Onesie (9-2J) and Ian Mongan in third.
Harding said: “That was hard work but it was good fun! I ride out three or four horses every day who are breakers (being broken in) but then you come and do this? I thought, ‘Oh my God.’  No, it was good fun really.

“I am 45 in two weeks’ time and I left home when I was 15. So I was a jockey for almost 30 years. It just takes a little getting away from.  But I do the jockey coaching job and that keeps me a bit involved. Jamie Gormley is one of mine and he is a good lad and there are some cracking good jump lads too.”


Easterby added: “It’s a wonderful race to be involved in, it’s such a big day for racing.  A lot of money is raised for charities that need it. Once racing stops, for a lot of these guys riding and working in the industry, things can happen and they need support.


“Brian’s ridden plenty for me over the years so it was great to have him. A brilliant solid jockey who always gave a horse a good ride. You never had any problems with him and you didn’t have to give him orders!


“I’d like him to come and school some for us that’s for sure!”


13 horses remain in the 2017 William Hill St Leger

Doncaster Racecourse and William Hill are delighted to announce that, at the five day stage, 13 horses remain entered for the 2017 William Hill St Leger, which takes place on Saturday 16 September.

Tony Kenny, of sponsors, William Hill commented, “We’re absolutely delighted with this field for the William Hill St Leger on Saturday.  As is reflected in our prices, this is set to be one of the most competitive renewals in years.  We make Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean 3/1 favourite for the race following his win at Goodwood”

With the four day William Hill St Leger Festival getting underway on Wednesday, Clerk of the Course Roderick Duncan has commented, “Following sixteen millimetres of rain overnight on Sunday, the going is now officially soft, heavy in places.  We do expect a couple of windy days on Tuesday and Wednesday, however it is forecast to be dry from Thursday onwards, with temperatures of 17oC, plus.”

15:35 THE WILLIAM HILL ST LEGER STAKES (CLASS 1) (Group 1) (British Champions Series), at DONCASTER on 16/09/2017
Abyssinian (IRE) 3    9 1 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien 40/1
Air Supremacy (IRE) 3    9 1 M Tabor/D Smith/Mrs Magnier/M J Jooste Aidan O’Brien 66/1
Capri (IRE) 3    9 1 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien 4/1
Count Octave (GB) 3    9 1 Qatar Racing Limited Andrew Balding 25/1
Crystal Ocean (GB) 3    9 1 Sir Evelyn De Rothschild Sir Michael Stoute 3/1
Defoe (IRE) 3    9 1 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian 9/2
Douglas Macarthur (IRE) 3    9 1 M J Jooste/Mrs J Magnier/M Tabor/D Smith Aidan O’Brien 25/1
Raheen House (IRE) 3    9 1 Mr J. L. Day Brian Meehan 12/1
Rekindling (GB) 3    9 1 Mr Lloyd J. Williams Joseph Patrick O’Brien 12/1
Stradivarius (IRE) 3    9 1 Mr B. E. Nielsen John Gosden 13/2
The Anvil (IRE) 3    9 1 D Smith/Mrs Magnier/M Tabor/Mrs O’Brien Aidan O’Brien 66/1
Venice Beach (IRE) 3    9 1 Smith/Mrs Magnier/Tabor/Flaxman Stables Aidan O’Brien 14/1
Coronet (GB) 3    8 12 Denford Stud John Gosden 13/2


William Hill Prices for the St Leger Stakes.

3/1 Crystal Ocean
4/1 Capri
9/2 Defoe
13/2 Stradivarius
13/2 Coronet
12/1 Raheen House
12/1 Rekindling
14/1 Venice Beach
25/1 Count Octave
25/1 Douglas Macarthur
40/1 Abyssinian
66/1 Air Supremacy
66/1 The Anvil